MURPHY: OVERTURNING THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT WOULD BE A HUMANITARIAN DISASTER IN CONNECTICUT

Click here to view video of Murphy’s remarks

HARTFORD—With the Affordable Care Act under attack by the Trump administration’s continued sabotage efforts, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, on Friday held a press conference with health care professionals, community advocates and people with pre-existing conditions to talk about what’s at stake for the over 522,000 people in Connecticut living with pre-existing conditions if the Texas v. United States lawsuit prevails.

On July 9, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the Texas v. United States lawsuit to overturn the entire ACA. If successful, this lawsuit would jeopardize the health care of millions of Americans. In June, Murphy offered an amendment to the Lower Health Care Costs Act during the HELP Committee markup requesting that the Trump administration provide information for states and Congress to better understand the potential consequences if the lawsuit prevails. Murphy also published an op-ed in the Hartford Courant on this in July and in Modern Healthcare this week.

“The lawsuit, which relies on a bizarre and innovative legal theory, if successful, would cause the Medicaid expansion and the subsidies for the health care exchanges nationwide to be eliminated overnight. That would be a humanitarian disaster here in Connecticut, if 350,000 people lost their health care overnight,” Murphy said.

“All the rest of the Affordable Care Act would be thrown out as well. So insurance companies can go right back to discriminating against people who were sick. They could require women to once again pay more in their premiums. No longer would there be a requirement that ensures that to keep young adults on their parent's insurance through 26,” Murphy added.

Full transcript of Murphy’s opening remarks are below:

“Good morning. I’m joined here today by several Connecticut residents who are going to talk about the stakes related to the current court fight that may end up with the Affordable Care Act eliminated. You're going to hear in a moment from Judy Tallman, from Dave Leeds, and from Emily Lemiska. They will talk to you a little bit about their own personal experiences struggling with our existing health care system. I'm happy to happy to take questions on other topics as well at the end of our remarks.

“While the focus of the world these days is on the potential impeachment of the President of the United States. Most folks here in Connecticut are still getting up every day trying to figure out how to pay their bills. And we need to remember that there are some really important economic issues that are most important to people here in Connecticut; even as we focus our energy on trying to hold the President of the United States to account. 

“In particular, in early July, a court case was heard in an appellate court that, if successful, would eliminate the entirety of the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act today, enrolls over 100,000 Connecticut residents in private health care or the health care exchange and over 250,000 Connecticut residents through Medicaid, because of the expansion of that program.

“The lawsuit, which relies on a bizarre and innovative legal theory, if successful, would cause the Medicaid expansion and the subsidies for the health care exchanges nationwide to be eliminated overnight. That would be a humanitarian disaster here in Connecticut, if 350,000 people lost their health care overnight.

“All the rest of the Affordable Care Act would be thrown out as well. So insurance companies can go right back to discriminating against people who were sick. They could require women to once again pay more in their premiums. No longer would there be a requirement that ensures that to keep young adults on their parent's insurance through 26. And my frustration has been that my Republican colleagues in Congress are just boxing their ears and closing their eyes to the potential that the Affordable Care Act is going to be overturned by our court system in a matter of weeks, if not months. My worry is that if this case reaches the Supreme Court, the recent right-wing justices that have been installed there, will be able to cobble together five votes to uphold an appellant decision against the Affordable Care Act.

“And so I wanted to, you know, just once again, underscore the importance of the Affordable Care Act. It is not perfect, it never has been perfect. We should be constantly working to improve it and try to make insurance more affordable for people all throughout this country. But I'm once again here to call on my colleagues in the Senate to come to the table with a contingency plan. What are Republicans in charge of the senate going to do if Texas vs. United States is decided for the Republican plaintiffs? 

“Obviously, the House of Representatives would, you know simply take the step of reinstating the Affordable Care Act and making whatever adjustments were necessary to bring it into legal compliance. The Senate has proper no plan on what to do. So I wanted to be here to once again raise the voices of my constituents so that I can amplify them and bring them back to DC, as we talked about the stakes of Texas for us.

“So with that, let me turn this over to our speakers. First will be Judy Tallman, who works with [Community Health Care Services], then Dave Leeds can talk about his personal experience with his preexisting condition. And then in a similar circumstance, Emily will talk about her health care story as well and the importance of the Affordable Care Act.” 

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