Democrats Submit Briefs To Defend ACA Against Gardner’s GOP Lawsuit to Overturn It
Gardner’s GOP Continues to “Plow Forward” To Gut ACA, “Pandemic Be Damned”
Denver, CO – Today, Democrats will submit opening briefs urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reject the reckless lawsuit to repeal the life-saving Affordable Care Act, which could rip care away from 400,000 Coloradans, endanger protections for 2.4 million Coloradans with pre-existing conditions, and undermine the nation’s public health response to coronavirus. Senator Cory Gardner says he believes the ACA is “unconstitutional” and supports the lawsuit to repeal.
While the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage, the Affordable Care Act has been critical, with the Medicaid expansion and Connect for Health marketplace having expanded coverage to over half a million people and allowed rural hospitals to keep their doors open. Budget analysts have estimated that over 500,000 more Coloradans could enroll in Medicaid by the end of the year, providing families critical access to care if they get sick.
Gardner has voted at least 13 times to repeal, gut, or defund the ACA. When Congress failed to repeal the health care law three years ago, Gardner despaired that “donors are furious…we haven’t kept our promise” and helped lead efforts to pass the GOP tax scam, which sparked the current legal challenge.
Last year, Gardner confirmed vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act and Mitch McConnell’s “protégé,” Justin Walker, to a lifetime appointment on the federal bench. Adding insult to injury, today McConnell jammed through Walker’s promotion to the second-highest court in the land, potentially putting the life-saving law in further jeopardy. Given Gardner’s past support for a judge deemed “not qualified” for his current job by the American Bar Association, we can bet Gardner will vote again to confirm Walker and advance his agenda to overturn the ACA.
Colorado is relying on the ACA in this fight against COVID. But if Gardner and the GOP’s lawsuit to repeal the law is successful, here’s some of what’s at stake:
- 400,000+ Coloradans Could Lose Coverage: Under Colorado’s Medicaid expansion, which has been “a coronavirus lifeline”, nearly 400,000 more Coloradans are now covered, cutting our state’s uninsured rate in half. Experts say that the Medicaid expansion has strengthened the public health response.
- 10,000+ Newly Insured DuringCOVID19 Could Lose Health Insurance: At least 10,000 Coloradans signed up for coverage during the special enrollment period. Trump, without opposition from Gardner, kept the federal exchange closed, even as unemployment claims spiked to record highs, reaching over 30 million.
- Rural Hospitals Could Shut Down: Medicaid expansion has been critical to helping rural Colorado hospitals stay afloat. States that did expand Medicaid, like Colorado, were 84% less likely to shutter facilities than states who did not expand.
- CDC’s Response Undermined: Without the valuable dollars provided by the ACA, the Center for Disease Control’s effort to protect the health and safety of Americans would be “dramatically reduced.”
- Undermine Mental Health Care Protections: The ACA helped encourage the widespread adoption and expansion of telehealth capabilities and classified mental health care as an “essential health benefit” covered by insurance.
Colorado Democratic Party Spokesperson Eli Rosen:
“The Affordable Care Act has ensured that hundreds of thousands of Coloradans have health care coverage during the coronavirus pandemic, while providing protections for pre-existing conditions and mental health care. Today is an unfortunate milestone in Senator Gardner, Trump, and the GOP’s reckless attempts to gut protections for Coloradans with pre-existing conditions. Senator Gardner has built his career on fighting to rip health care away from Coloradans, and even a global pandemic isn’t slowing him down.”