Durbin: If President Trump Wants To Help Those With Pre-Existing Conditions, Stop Trying To Eliminate The ACA

CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today called on President Trump to end his attacks on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and stand with patients with pre-existing conditions. In last week’s State of the Union address, President Trump falsely claimed that he’s trying to protect patients with pre-existing conditions – all while his Administration is actively fighting in court to strike down the entire ACA.

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies can no longer deny coverage or charge higher premiums to Americans with pre-existing conditions. Despite these incredibly important protections for Americans with asthma, cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, President Trump has made it the central mission of his presidency to eliminate or undermine our health law,” Durbin said. “If President Trump were serious about protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions, he could do a simple thing: drop the lawsuit.”

After President Trump’s failed attempt to repeal the ACA nearly three years ago, he turned to the courts to sabotage the health law. In 2018, 20 Republican Attorneys General (AG) filed a lawsuit over the constitutionality of the ACA—arguing that because the individual mandate penalty was zeroed out in the 2017 Republican tax law, the rest of the ACA also should be struck down. The President directed his Department of Justice to intervene in the case and advocate for the total elimination of the ACA.

If the Trump Administration and Republican AGs succeed, the entirety of the ACA could be struck down, meaning:

  • Protections for people with pre-existing conditions would be eliminated;
  • Millions would be kicked off Medicaid;
  • Individual insurance markets and premium assistance would be eliminated;
  • Seniors on Medicare would face increased prescription drug costs;
  • Women could be charged more than men for health care;
  • Young people would no longer have access to their parents’ insurance plan up to age 26;
  • Annual and lifetime caps on benefits could return;
  • There would no longer be guaranteed coverage for preventative screening and contraceptive services without deductibles or copayments; and
  • There would no longer be guaranteed coverage for mental health and addiction treatment services.

Since the ACA was signed into law in 2010, the uninsured rate in Illinois has fallen by 49 percent.  More than one million previously uninsured Illinoisans now have health insurance thanks to Medicaid expansion and tax credits to purchase Exchange plans, and 90,000 young adults have health insurance by staying on their parents’ plans until age 26.  Further, the approximately five million Illinois residents with a pre-existing conditions now have protections against discrimination from insurance companies, and Illinois seniors have saved an average of more than $1,000 on their prescription drugs due to the ACA’s closing of the Medicare “donut hole” coverage gap.