Bennet, Health Care Advocates Highlight What is at Stake for Americans’ Health Care if the Affordable Care Act is Eliminated


Denver Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and health care advocates joined Colorado Protect Our Care at a virtual press conference, ahead of the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings on President Donald Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court to discuss what is at stake for Americans’ health care if the Affordable Care Act is overturned. Panelists condemned Senate Republicans' ongoing attack on health care and their rush to confirm a new Justice comes just weeks before the Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in Republicans' lawsuit to eliminate the Affordable Care Act on November 10.

Participants focused on how Trump’s ACA-repeal lawsuit would devastate Coloradans and roll back critical protections for women, Latinxs, and LGBTQ+ individuals who have suffered disproportionate economic impacts during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and seen greater job loss overall – likely resulting in loss of health care coverage.

"Instead of building on the Affordable Care Act — which is what I hear people in Colorado say they want every single day — Republicans in Washington have spent the last ten years working to sabotage it," said Bennet, who has made health care a priority since joining the Senate in 2009. "During Donald Trump's first year in office, they tried again and again to repeal the law, even though they had no plan, and they still have no plan to replace it. It's the opposite of what Donald Trump promised when he told the American people we would give them ‘such great health care at a tiny fraction of the cost.’”

Bennet also warned that the Republican lawsuit to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, which is currently before the Supreme Court, could leave millions without access to health care. 

"We need to stay focused, because all of our work could be undone by the Supreme Court, which is poised to gut the law if Mitch McConnell succeeds in ramming through the President's nominee," said Bennet. 

“Lack of access to affordable, quality, culturally competent health care has had a significant and negative impact on the health of the Latinx community. The hard fought gains that have come from the Affordable Care Act are particularly important to women of color and our families, and last year, 8 in 10 uninsured Latinos qualified for a federal public health program or lower costs through the ACA marketplace,” said Katherine Riley, a social worker and the Policy Manager at the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR). “Right now as the president battles the coronavirus he won’t have to worry about going further into debt to pay a medical bill. And he doesn’t have to be concerned that his insurance company will no longer cover him because he had COVID-19. But if his administration is successful in getting rid of the ACA with no real plan to replace it, then the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have survived this pandemic could be threatened with losing their insurance because it would be considered a pre-existing condition.”

“I spent most of my life fighting for access to the health care that I need and it’s a fight that never ends. I was born with a pre-existing condition, a genetic disease that causes mass episodes of swelling. Obviously I had no control over this but it was held against me for pretty much my entire life. I so desperately needed care but every time I had to fight or beg for the treatment I needed, I began believing I did not deserve to be healthy, because I was detrimental to profit margins,” said Rachel Wall, a health care advocate and a baker from Denver. “When the Affordable Care Act was passed, I could finally access the care I needed and I gradually started to believe that maybe I did deserve to be healthy. I thought my fight was over, but from Day 1 Republican lawmakers have relentlessly attacked and undermined the ACA. Donald Trump has made it his personal crusade to tear down the ACA and now with less than 30 days before Election Day he’s trying to rush through confirming a judge who will side with him and help him rip away health care from millions of people. It is always unconscionable to try to restrict health care access but exponentially more so in the midst of a pandemic that has infected millions and taken the lives of more than 210,000 Americans.”

"The Affordable Care Act was the most significant advancement in women's reproductive health care since the pill, and if it's overturned, it will be a huge blow to our reproductive rights, and our ability to control our own bodies," said Justine Sandoval, a Statewide Engagement Manager with Cobalt, a health care advocacy organization dedicated to expanding access to reproductive care. "The possibility of a 6-3 Court that would lead to conservative rollbacks on health care protections is awful for this country. It would take us backwards."

“Three years ago I walked into a doctor’s office with a nagging cough and walked out with a stage IV cancer diagnosis. I am still here today because the Affordable Care Act saved my life. But the day after my first chemotherapy appointment, Republican Senators voted to repeal the ACA and take away the health insurance that was keeping me alive,” said Laura Packard, a co-chair of Health Care Voter. “Trump’s tax scam included an element to repeal the individual mandate, which set up the Supreme Court case that threatens the entire ACA now. Trump promised to only appoint judges who would repeal the Affordable Care Act and he is keeping his promise. He failed to come up with any plan to protect us but he is determined to take away our care anyway.”  

A video of the press conference is available HERE. Learn more about how Trump's lawsuit to eliminate the Affordable Care Act would devastate Coloradans HERE.