Commentary: Today, on the first day of oral arguments in the Texas v. United States litigation supported by the Trump administration and Republicans to eliminate the Affordable Care Act (ACA), U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich joined Senate and House Democrats on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to highlight the stories of New Mexico families who would be hurt if the Trump administration and Republicans succeed in their effort to overturn the ACA and strip away protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Udall highlighted the story of an Albuquerque family whose lives have been changed by the ACA: Jessica, Sam, and their 3 ½-year-old son, Rafe, who has an extremely rare genetic condition called hypotonic cerebral palsy, and was born with cortical visual impairment — a type of legal blindness — and significant developmental delays. Jessica and Sam have been able to access the intensive medical care, early intervention services, medical equipment, and therapies that Rafe needs through Medicaid, but his coverage would be in serious jeopardy if the Trump administration’s lawsuit succeeds.
Heinrich highlighted an Albuquerque resident, Mari Richard, 13, who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of nine. With the help and peace of mind that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides for people with preexisting conditions, Mari has been able to live a normal life and her parents, Gabe and Leslie, have not had to worry about their daughter’s health care coverage. If President Trump and Republicans succeed in overturning the ACA, Gabe and Leslie are worried about what the loss of protections and comprehensive care would mean for people with preexisting conditions like their daughter.
“Despite trying and failing to repeal the ACA in Congress over the course of two years, the Trump administration and Republicans are still on their endless crusade to take away health care from hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans – like Rafe and his family – and millions of Americans,” Udall said. “Make no mistake: this lawsuit is yet another politically-charged attempt by Republicans to sabotage New Mexicans’ health care – this time, via the courts. If it succeeds, the lives of families like Rafe’s would be thrown into chaos as insurance companies are given license to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, and countless families lose their insurance or Medicaid coverage. This is unacceptable. We should be working together toward commonsense solutions that lower costs and expand quality coverage, not yanking the rug out from under millions of Americans who depend on the ACA to obtain life-saving treatment and critical care. I’ll continue fighting to defend coverage for New Mexico families against these relentless attacks. Every American should have the right to access the health care they need to lead a healthy, productive life.”
"President Trump’s reckless lawsuit to strike down the Affordable Care Act threatens the lives and livelihoods of New Mexicans everywhere, including the Richard family. It is time for Republicans to recognize health care is a human right and start working on real solutions instead of dismantling our health care system and eliminating consumer protections. We should all work towards making quality health care accessible and affordable for all Americans – especially those living with preexisting conditions,” said Heinrich.
Last year, on the heels of repeated, failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act in Congress, a group of Republican attorneys general and governors brought a lawsuit against the federal government arguing that the ACA is unconstitutional. In an unprecedented move, the Trump administration refused to defend the ACA in court, despite it being the law of the land, and instead formally requested the court to strike down the entire health care law, which would jeopardize coverage for 21 million people and eliminate protections for the 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, including roughly 860,000 New Mexicans.