Spanberger & Colleagues to Trump Administration: Stop Ripping Away Healthcare Coverage During COVID-19 Crisis

Congresswoman Introduces Bicameral Resolution Slamming Administration’s Effort to Invalidate the Existing Healthcare Law, Strip Coverage from Hundreds of Thousands of Virginians with Pre-Existing Conditions

As the Trump administration seeks to dismantle the existing healthcare law that provides coverage for millions of Americans, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today introduced a bicameral resolution with 84 colleagues that would put a condemnation of this senseless legal effort in the official record of the U.S. House.

More than 3.4 million Virginians have a pre-existing condition, including more than 444,000 Virginia children. According to the Urban Institute, 642,000 Virginians would lose coverage by repealing the existing healthcare law through the administration’s lawsuit, leading to a 96 percent increase in the Commonwealth’s uninsured rate.

Spanberger’s resolution demands that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in court and halt its efforts to repeal healthcare protections relied on by millions of Americans in the middle of a public health emergency. Spanberger’s effort is co-led by U.S. Representatives Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14) and Kim Schrier (D-WA-08), both of whom are experienced healthcare professionals.

“We’re in the middle of a global pandemic, and DOJ thinks the right course of action is to make COVID-19’s impacts worse for American individuals and families who already hurting. I understand that the lawyers at DOJ might not feel the sting of losing the Affordable Care Act or know what it’s like to lose a job in the middle of a public health emergency, but thousands of my constituents in Central Virginia do. They would be devastated if this reckless lawsuit succeeds,” said Spanberger. “Since March, thousands of Virginians have lost their jobs and their employer-sponsored health insurance due to this crisis, at no fault of their own. Many will have to turn to the exchanges and Medicaid to stay covered during the pandemic. My resolution makes clear that this lawsuit jeopardizes lives, guts Medicaid expansion, throws more of our neighbors into bankruptcy, and destroys the financial security of our healthcare providers. While I agree that there are steps we can and should take to fix issues within our healthcare system, the solution is not to throw everything away without a replacement, let alone in the middle of a public health emergency. That’s reckless, and it’s a dereliction of our fundamental values of looking out for our neighbors and protecting our most vulnerable. I will keep fighting to expand — not destroy — access to affordable healthcare coverage during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.”

Spanberger’s resolution is endorsed by the Virginia Rural Health Association, Young Invincibles, Social Security Works, Community Catalyst, and Protect Our Care.

“The Virginia Rural Health Association recognizes that many of our rural citizens do not have access to traditional types of employer-based health insurance,” said Beth O’Connor, Executive Director, Virginia Rural Health Association. “Farmers and small business owners need the services provided through the Affordable Care Act to assure that all Americans can benefit from the hard work of those in rural communities.”

“This resolution, championed by Rep. Spanberger along with Reps. Underwood and Schrier, would help to protect 23 million Americans from having their health care ripped away in the middle of a pandemic,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “Even as the nation faces the worst public health crisis in a century, the president and his Republican allies are trying to overturn our health care law before the Supreme Court, and, if successful, would reverse the enormously successful expansion of Medicaid and end protections for more than 135 million with pre-existing conditions, including every American who had or will have COVID-19. Rep. Spanberger’s resolution sends a clear message that enough is enough — it’s time for President Trump to drop this senseless lawsuit and quit playing games with Americans’ health care.”

If successful, the Trump administration’s continued legal assault on the U.S. healthcare system would lead to disastrous results — especially in the middle of the current public health crisis. Central Virginians with pre-existing conditions, including those who have been infected with COVID-19, could once again face annual or lifetime caps, medical underwriting for their insurance coverage, or denials for the care they need. Additionally, many of the gains in healthcare coverage made through Virginia’s Medicaid expansion would be erased, and the lawsuit would jeopardize the viability of Central Virginia’s rural healthcare providers.

Spanberger’s resolution urges DOJ to reverse its position and instead protect the millions of people who rely on the ACA for healthcare coverage amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has infected nearly 5 million Americans and killed more 160,000.

Spanberger’s resolution is companion legislation to S. Res. 638, which U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced in June 2020. Every Democratic Member of the U.S. Senate has supported Tester’s resolution.

Also backing Spanberger’s resolution are U.S. Representatives Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14), Kim Schrier (D-WA-08), Colin Allred (D-TX), Cindy Axne (D-IA), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA),Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Andre Carson (D-IN), Judy Chu (D-CA), David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (D-CA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Jim Costa (D-CA), TJ Cox (D-CA), Jason Crow (D-CO), Sharice Davids (D-KS), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), Bill Foster (D-IL), John Garamendi (D-CA), Sylvia R. Garcia (D-TX), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-IL), Jared Golden (D-ME), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Denny Heck (D-WA), Kendra S. Horn (D-OK), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Joseph P. Kennedy, III (D-MA), Daniel T. Kildee (D-MI), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Katie Porter (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Kathleen M. Rice (D-NY), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Harley Rouda (D-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), David Scott (D-GA), Jose E. Serrano (D-NY), Terri A. Sewell (D-AL), Donna E. Shalala (D-FL), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Adam Smith (D-WA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Haley Stevens (D-MI), Dina Titus (D-NV), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), David Trone (D-MD), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Peter Welch (D-VT), Susan Wild (D-PA), and Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL).

Click here to read Spanberger’s full resolution.

BACKGROUND

Since taking office, Spanberger has repeatedly fought to stabilize the Affordable Care Act and protect coverage for those with preexisting conditions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has called for the administration to use its authorities under the Affordable Care Act to improve access to health insurance coverage for the uninsured and the millions of recently unemployed American workers.

In June 2020, Spanberger voted with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House to pass legislation that would protect healthcare coverage for millions of Virginians with pre-existing conditions, reduce premiums, and lower prescription drug costs for Central Virginia seniors and families. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act would lower health coverage costs for middle class families, give Medicare the power to negotiate prescription drug prices, and combat inequities in healthcare coverage faced by communities of color. Additionally, the Spanberger-supported legislation would reverse the administration’s expansion of junk health insurance plans that do not provide coverage for essential medical treatment.

And in April 2019, she voted in support of the Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act, legislation she cosponsored to preserve protections provided under the current healthcare law — including protections for those with pre-existing conditions, prevention of lifetime coverage caps, and the ability for children to remain on their parents’ health insurance plan until the age of 26.

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