NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez, a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee that sets national health policy, and Cory Booker today joined 44 of their Democratic colleagues in urging President Trump to direct the Department of Justice (DOJ) to protect the law of the land, which provides health care coverage protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The Administration’s Fiscal Year 2021 proposed budget continues to fund DOJ’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which protects access to affordable health care for millions of people with pre-existing conditions, while providing no mention of a replacement should the DOJ prevail in court.
“We noted your announcement in the 2020 State of the Union that you would protect patients with pre-existing conditions, and we hoped that priority would be reflected in your Fiscal Year 2021 budget request. Unfortunately, your “Budget for America’s Future” does exactly the opposite,” the Senators wrote in a letter to President Trump.“It fully funds the Department of Justice’s ongoing efforts to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in its entirety through the courts, and it provides no alternative, no replacement, no hope for the 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, including the 54 million Americans with pre-existing conditions who would be completely uninsurable without the basic protections provided by the ACA.”
“Americans need us to work together to defend their access to quality, affordable health care. We have proven that we can improve our health care system and reduce costs when we put politics aside and people first,” the letter continued. “It is not too late to reverse course on Texas v. United States. It is not too late to work together to build on the successes of the ACA.”
Yesterday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar fumbled his response when Sen. Menendez asked him the Administration’s plan to cover the millions of Americans who would lose health insurance if the ACA were dismantled.
Sen. Menendez has been a strong supporter of the ACA and was an author of key provisions that were included in the bill, including ones that bolster community health centers, expanded Medicaid and strengthened consumer protections. When the Republican-controlled Congress led the charge to dismantle the bill in 2017, Sen. Menendez was a leading voice in defending health care for millions of Americans.
A copy of the letter can be found here.