America is in the midst of unprecedented public health and economic crises that have shaken the foundations of our nation. Nearly 200,000 Americans are dead because of COVID-19, millions have contracted the virus, and unemployment levels rival the Great Recession. And our national emergency isn’t likely to be over anytime soon.
Yet, even amid a pandemic that has made access to healthcare more important than ever, President Donald Trump and Republican state attorneys general are moving forward with their lawsuit to strike down the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. This assault on the healthcare of millions, at this moment of crisis, is as inexplicable as it is unforgivable.
The case has worked its way through the judicial system and is set to come before the Supreme Court this fall. In June, the Trump administration filed its briefs in the case, laying out its argument that because Congress repealed the individual mandate, the remainder of the law cannot stand and should be invalidated entirely. That rationale has been widely panned by legal scholars and is contrary to statements made by congressional Republican leaders when they voted to repeal the mandate. What’s worse is that Republicans clearly have no plan for what will happen if they win.
If their case succeeds, it would create a humanitarian catastrophe. It would rip healthcare from more than 23 million Americans and allow insurers to once again deny care to or raise premium rates through the roof for the 130 million Americans with a preexisting medical condition. It would eliminate financial assistance that helps millions afford plans through the exchanges. And it would make it so that insurance companies no longer have to cover essential health benefits like prescription drugs or trips to the emergency department.