Today, arguments will be heard in a case to determine the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a case brought to court by Republican states and the Trump administration in an effort to sabotage and repeal Obamacare and remove protections for people with pre-existing conditions. If they are successful, this will be the first step toward a full repeal of our nation’s health care system, and millions more will be affected.
Before the ACA, health insurers could discriminate based on pre-existing conditions and charge people with medical conditions more for their insurance. According to the Center for American Progress, “consumers with common ailments, including asthma and high blood pressure, were charged higher rates. People with histories of serious conditions, such as cancer or heart attacks, were regularly denied coverage altogether.” In Pennsylvania’s First District alone, 306,500 people under the age of 65 have a pre-existing condition – that’s 53% of people under 65.
“If we don’t have a pre-existing condition ourselves, we know someone who does. Nobody should be unable to afford their insurance or be denied coverage altogether because they have asthma or diabetes – or God forbid, cancer. This is when they need health care the most,” said Scott Wallace, Democratic Nominee for Congress in PA01. “Our representative, Brian Fitzpatrick has been treating health care like a political game while the lives of his constituents are at stake. He has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from insurance companies and then votes with them in Congress. He voted against prohibiting insurance companies from discriminating against people based on pre-existing conditions, and then he voted for the GOP Tax Scam, which gutted the ACA and will make future devastating cuts to Medicare and Medicaid – lifelines for so many families in PA-01. We need a leader in Congress who is on the side of the families in his district – not the insurance companies that fund his campaign.”
In addition to voting for the GOP tax bill which will cause at least 505,000 Pennsylvanians – including 34,600 people in PA-01 – to lose health insurance over the next few years, Fitzpatrick voted against protecting people with pre-existing conditions and voted against protecting women from gender-based discrimination in health insurance markets. He also voted against a requirement for health care plans to provide treatment for substance use despite the pervasive opioid epidemic plaguing Bucks and Montgomery families. Fitzpatrick also voted for legislation that would loosen regulations on “junk plans”, which offer bare-bones coverage at cheap rates by skimping on basic services like prescription drugs, prenatal and maternity care, mental health care, and substance use treatment.