As Supreme Court Hears California v. Texas Oral Arguments, Merkley Warns Of Consequences if GOP Convinces Court to Overturn the ACA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement today, as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the California v. Texas case—the lawsuit backed by Trump and Republican lawmakers to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare:

“Repeated attempts by Donald Trump and his allies in Congress to repeal the ACA through legislation have sparked national outrage and have failed every time. But instead of listening to the American people who have spoken out about the lifesaving benefits of the ACA, these extreme politicians instead are asking the courts—now stacked with right-wing ideologue judges—to terminate the law. It would be disastrous—especially in the middle of deadly global pandemic—for the tens of millions of Americans who rely on the law for their health care.

“If the court strikes down the ACA, Medicare beneficiaries will be left with higher bills, over 21 million people will lose their employer-sponsored health care, adults under the age of 26 will be kicked off their parents’ insurance plan, and women will once again lose access to preventive services, including birth control, STD screenings, life-saving breast cancer screenings, HIV screenings, and Pap tests. More than 130 million Americans will lose protections for their pre-existing conditions—in addition to over 10 million Americans diagnosed with COVID-19 who now have a pre-existing condition. Hundreds of thousands of American who were recently laid-off or are unemployed due to the pandemic will no longer have access to Medicaid, a critical safety-net.

“These are people living in each of our communities, in each state, in every corner of America—and they’re holding their breath as today’s oral arguments begin and the fate of the ACA hangs in the balance. They’re sick of pharmaceutical companies gouging them for the medicines they need to live. They’re tired of the Trump administration’s repeated attempts to rip away their health care and raise their premiums. And they’re disgusted by politicians in Washington who talk about protecting pre-existing conditions while obsessively trying to shred those protections.

“The American people have made their support for the ACA clear as day—including electing Joe Biden to be the next President of the United States. Let’s bring America together to improve health care and shut down the damaging effort to destroy it.”

Background: The ACA’s impact on Oregonians:

  • The ACA protects more than 1.6 million Oregonians who have preexisting medical conditions from being denied coverage or charged higher premiums by insurers.
  • The ACA would also protect the 50,000+ Oregonians who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and now have a preexisting condition.
  • In 2020, more than 148,000 people signed up for coverage in Oregon through the marketplace.
  • As of May 2020, 911,412 Oregonians were enrolled in Medicaid and 129,435 Oregon children were enrolled in CHIP, totaling 1,040,847 total Medicaid and CHIP enrollment.
  • As of September 2018, 557,000 Oregonians were enrolled in Medicaid expansion.
  • Oregon’s Medicaid program has increased by more than 100,000 members since March 2020 from the pandemic. About 60% of these adults are covered through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, and children covered by Medicaid account for about 25% of the growth.
  • In 2019, 100,366 marketplace enrollees received tax credits in Oregon.
  • An estimated 28,000 young adults in Oregon benefited from the ACA’s dependent coverage to age 26 in 2016. Private coverage among Oregonians age 18 to 24 years old increased by 6.7 percent following this ACA provision.