A little over a week ago, the Trump administration made yet another move to take health care coverage and critical protections away from millions of people by instructing its own Justice Department to refuse to defend the Affordable Care Act in court.
In no uncertain terms, this move would gut Medicaid, strip away protections for people with pre-existing conditions and take away needed tax credits that make coverage affordable for middle-income families getting coverage through the exchanges.
This move is shameful and puts the health of Nevadans at risk.
At every turn, President Donald Trump has done everything in his power to sabotage our nation’s health care law, including signing executive orders to undermine it, cutting the open enrollment period, slashing funding for public awareness about coverage options, and making endless unsuccessful attempts to repeal, repeal, repeal.
Let’s be clear: There is no Republican replacement plan that preserves protections for those with pre-existing conditions and ensures that everyone who has gained coverage will have the same options as under the ACA.
The administration’s renewed assault on the ACA through the judicial system follows a series of failures by Republicans to repeal and replace the law in Congress. This administration realizes it cannot win a legislative battle, so it has decided to skirt the system and try to get its way by demolishing our health care system altogether.
This action shows a complete disregard for Americans with pre-existing conditions, including 1.2 million people in Nevada, more than 150,000 of whom are children. It also ignores the health care needs of the 200,000-plus Nevadans who have benefited from Medicaid expansion. Dismantling the ACA could potentially leave half of the state without health coverage.
This latest threat to our health care is completely manufactured and avoidable. I implore the president to stop with the political stunts that put people’s lives at risk. There are plenty of ways we can work together to improve the ACA, but destroying the law and leaving Americans at risk is unacceptable.
That’s why I’m fighting back and will continue to do so.
During my first few weeks as a senator, I helped lead the effort to defend the constitutionality of the ACA by introducing a resolution to direct the Senate to intervene in the federal lawsuit to defend the law.
Health care is one of the top kitchen table issues in Nevada. From Las Vegas to Elko, I’ve met countless Nevadans who would be affected by this disastrous decision and who tell me what it means to their personal lives.
Recently, my office heard from health care providers who spoke about the incredible difference the Medicaid expansion in Nevada has had on their ability to treat patients and how important this safety net is.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, I will continue to work to bring resources, accountability and relief to our health care system.
We know this is an issue that we can work on together. That’s why we must look toward the future and focus on bringing down drug prices, improving patient access to care in rural and underserved areas, and strengthening our public health system.
We cannot allow the Trump administration to invalidate our nation’s health care law.
The ACA is here to stay, and it is high time we focus on making people’s lives better instead of taking away their health care.
Jacky Rosen is a United States senator representing Nevada.