WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), today joined Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), in asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of the Treasury to conduct an analysis of how the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in California v. Texas would affect health care coverage in the United States, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the midst of a global pandemic that has killed roughly 220,000 people in the U.S. and infected over 8 million others, the President of the United States is actively asking the Supreme Court to eliminate the ACA’s critical health protections,” the Senators wrote. “Republicans in the U.S. Senate had the opportunity to pass legislation barring the President from advocating against the ACA in court, but they refused-choosing instead to ram through Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination and place the health care law at even greater risk.”
Despite the ACA’s unequivocal success in reducing the number of uninsured Americans, Republican lawmakers have spent years working to overturn the law. These years of sabotage have culminated in California v. Texas, a case-led by 18 attorneys general and President Trump’s Department of Justice-that calls for the courts to declare the entire ACA unconstitutional. The President is currently working to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader’s Supreme Court seat with his nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, in time to hear arguments in the case in the Supreme Court on November 10, 2020. Barrett’s nomination is a key component of the President’s self-stated goal to “terminate health care under Obamacare [the ACA].”
If the ACA is repealed, experts estimate that over 20 million Americans will lose health coverage– a number that is likely higher now as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To better understand the implications of a California v. Texas decision overturning the ACA, the senators have asked HHS and Treasury to provide information on how such a decision would impact U.S. health care coverage, including any pre-existing internal analyses of such a decision.
The full text of the letter may be found here.