Commentary: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals today heard oral arguments in a lawsuit that could invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) all together, leaving millions of Americans without access to health insurance.
After failing to repeal the ACA in Congress, President Trump and the Republican Party are arguing in court for the law to be overturned completely. The Trump administration has abandoned precedent and refused to defend the law, and nearly every Republican in Congress voted in support of this lawsuit. If Republicans succeed in invalidating the ACA, tens of millions of Americans could lose their insurance coverage. The uninsured rate would skyrocket by 65%, as millions of Americans lose access to Medicaid, and people with pre-existing conditions are no longer protected. In New Mexico, overturning the ACA could cause turmoil in our insurance system that would increase costs and hold back critical funds for rural hospitals.
Democrats have done everything possible to prevent this catastrophic upset to our health care system. In Washington, the Democrat-led U.S House of Representatives - including New Mexico Reps. Ben Ray Luján, Deb Haaland, and Xochitl Torres Small - voted to allow the House to defend the ACA in this lawsuit. At the state level, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the Democrat-led New Mexico legislature passed a law this year that guarantees ACA protections, even if the law is overturned at the national level. The American people showed that they overwhelmingly support the ACA during the 2018 elections. Still, Republicans are doubling down on their unpopular attempt to repeal the ACA by any means necessary. Democratic Party Chair Marg Elliston released the following statement in response to the GOP’s latest efforts to overturn the ACA: "The American people made it clear in 2018 that health care is a human right. Still, Republicans spent today trying to undermine Americans' health care by arguing against the Affordable Care Act in a Trump-supported lawsuit that could leave millions without insurance coverage. “Thanks to the leadership of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and our state legislature, New Mexico passed a law this year that would protect people with pre-existing conditions even if the ACA is overturned. That's the kind of leadership we need to see at the national level, and that’s why we’re committed to putting a Democrat in the White House in 2020."