WASHINGTON, D.C. — A day after the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments concerning the Affordable Care Act (ACA), U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, was warning of possible impacts if it is repealed.
Those impacts, according to Brown, include loss of consumer protections (such as pre-existing conditions), as well as the possibility of many Americans losing insurance altogether.
“Five million Ohioans under 65, about half the state’s population, have pre-existing conditions, and all of them would be at risk of losing their insurance if the Affordable Care Act is overturned,” Brown said.
He added the Trump Administration, after 10 years of failure by Republicans to repeal the law under the legislative process, has turned to the courts.
“The Trump Administration is pressuring the federal courts to overturn the Affordable Care Act,” Brown said. “They couldn’t do it through the democratic process, so they are turning to the courts.”
Brown was joined on a teleconference call with Ohio reporters Wednesday by Susan Halpern, a breast cancer survivor and small business owner in Columbus.
“As a breast cancer survivor and self-employed small business owner here in Ohio, I depend on the ACA for my healthcare,” Halpern said.
“As one of the 102 million-plus Americans with a pre-existing condition, I am very aware that without the ACA I would not be able to purchase health insurance for any price,” she added.
Brown said while Republicans have not been able to repeal the legislation, they have been able to chip away at it in recent years. Those efforts have, Brown said, resulted in the funding being eliminated for navigators who help consumers go through the exchange process, as well as the individual mandate requirement.
“It is inconceivable to me a president thinks he should upend the lives of millions of people,” Brown said. “There’s really no way of knowing the chaos (eliminating the ACA) would cause.”
The senator admitted the law could use some improvements, such as updating the language regarding pre-existing conditions and prescription drugs.
“But Republicans were only interested in repeal and replace, which is what they’ve campaigned on for the last 10 years, but they never had a replacement,” Brown said.
“There are some Republicans now that understand it is the law of the land and needs fixed, but the leadership is only interested in repeal,” he added. “For (Senate Leader) Mitch McConnell, it’s only about the politics of the issue, not fixing the ACA.”