Shaheen Files Amendment to Defund Trump Administration Lawsuit that Seeks to Strike Down ACA, Pre-Existing Condition Protections

October 24, 2019

**Shaheen Amendment Comes in Anticipation of Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ Ruling to Uphold or Reverse a U.S. District Court Ruling that Would End Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions** 

**Shaheen Led a Resolution in the Senate to Save Pre-Existing Condition Protections & Health Care for Millions from Trump Admin’s Effort to Gut ACA** 

(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) filed an amendment to appropriations legislation being considered by the full Senate that would prohibit the Department of Justice (DOJ) from seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in court, yesterday. Shaheen’s amendment comes in anticipation of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision that could either uphold or reverse U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor’s ruling to strike down the ACA in its entirety.  Striking down the ACA, including the health law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions, would cancel coverage currently provided to millions of Americans.

“The Trump administration has led a three-year assault on Americans’ access to health care through the ACA, despite having no plan to replace it. Egregiously, American taxpayer money has been footing the legal bill for the Trump administration’s partisan lawsuit seeking to strip health care coverage from millions of people and take us back to the days when Americans could be denied insurance coverage or charged higher premiums simply due to a pre-existing condition,” said Shaheen. “I have filed an amendment to stop this reckless lawsuit in its tracks. As prescription drug prices climb and surprise medical billing soars, lowering costs and improving access to affordable health care has never been more critical – this is where the Trump administration needs to focus its attention and work with Congress on a bipartisan basis. I will continue to defend the ACA from the administration’s attacks and will keep working to find common-sense solutions to improve our health care law to work for every American.” 

In April, Shaheen led all 47 Senate Democrats on the Senate resolution that would reverse the Department of Justice’s decision to side with Judge O’Connor’s ruling that would strike down the ACA. This health care sabotage could result in 133 million Americans losing protections for pre-existing conditions, millions more Americans without health insurance, soaring prescription drug costs for seniors, and nearly 90,000 Granite Staters losing health care coverage. Instead of defending the law and its vital health care protections, the Trump administration’s DOJ chose to side with Texas and other states challenging our health care law last year, arguing that pre-existing condition protections are unconstitutional. The DOJ later expanded its position, arguing on the side of Judge O’Connor that the entire Affordable Care Act should be struck down. 

Senator Shaheen has led efforts in the Senate to stabilize the health insurance markets and make health care affordable and accessible for all Americans. She introduced the Marketing and Outreach Restoration to Empower (MORE) Health Education Act of 2019 with Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Gary Peters (D-MI) to counteract Trump administration sabotage efforts that have slashed funding for health care enrollment advertising and marketing by 90 percent since the President took office. She also introduced the Protecting Americans with Pre-existing Conditions Act with Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to prevent the Trump administration from using federal premium tax credits to  promote and incentivize enrollment in “junk plans” that do not provide coverage of pre-existing conditions or essential health benefits. Yesterday, Shaheen, Warner and Baldwin called on the Trump administration to do more to prevent third-party web brokers from steering individuals toward these junk health insurance plans. 

And earlier this year, Shaheen unveiled a health care affordability package that includes three pieces of legislation to reduce health care costs for patients and expand access to critical medical services. Together, the Marketplace Certainty ActImproving Health Insurance Affordability Act and Reducing Costs for Out-of-Network Services Act would make essential reforms to the health care law that would help stabilize the marketplace, lower premiums for middle-class families and combat escalating out-of-pocket health care costs. 

Text of Shaheen’s amendment can be found here.