Merkley Statement on the Senate’s Failure to Protect Americans’ Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement today after Senate Republicans blocked legislation that would have protected hundreds of millions of Americans’ health care, and prevented the Department of Justice from pushing courts to strike down the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare:

“Donald Trump and his allies in Congress have kept their crosshairs fixed on millions of Americans’ health insurance for years. Today’s vote is another infuriating reminder that to them, a vindictive campaign to tear down affordable health care for millions of Americans is more important than fighting for their constituents.

“The American people have repeatedly stood up against callous attempt after attempt to rip away their care. They’ve shared heartbreaking stories of life before the Affordable Care Act—stories of illness and crushing medical bills, of choosing between paying their rent and filling their prescriptions. And they’ve shared stories about the difference this law has made in their lives—stories about being able to keep coverage for their children with chronic conditions, about being able to afford care for the first time, about being able to move forward through difficult diagnoses without worrying about being bankrupted.

“Make no mistake. In the decade since the ACA passed, President Trump and Senate Republicans have never proposed a replacement plan that would protect Americans with preexisting conditions, expand health care access, or lower costs for Americans who actually need medical care. They spent a year trying to repeal people’s care, and when they failed, Republican state politicians and Donald Trump’s Department of Justice filed lawsuit after lawsuit to destroy health care coverage in America.

“Their strategy ends at repealing the ACA and going back to the bad old days. And today’s vote, like the nomination of an avowed opponent of the ACA to the Supreme Court, reinforces that they continue to pursue destroying coverage for pre-existing conditions even in the face of a worst-in-a-century pandemic. Their strategy is a road map for more illness, more suffering, and more financial devastation.”