Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons joined Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and other Senate and House Democrats on July 10 to highlight the Donald Trump administration’s continued efforts to attack Americans’ access to quality, affordable health care and eliminate the Affordable Care Act.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on July 9 heard oral arguments in the Texas v. United States case — a lawsuit brought by 18 Republican attorneys general and governors to eliminate the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. The Trump administration’s Department of Justice filed a brief in support of overturning the landmark health care law in full, which would include eliminating protections for 133 million Americans living with preexisting conditions, including more than half of all Delawareans.

Carper highlighted the story Marie Gilles of Delaware, who is a widow living with a preexisting condition. When she lost her health insurance, Marie was able to enroll in a plan through the ACA Marketplace with the help of enrollment specialists at Westside Family Healthcare in Dover. Gilles stressed that she does not know what she would do if she lost her current health care.

“Yesterday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the Texas v. United States case, a lawsuit brought by 18 Republican attorneys general and governors, and backed by the Trump administration to completely invalidate the Affordable Care Act,” said Carper. “If Republicans are successful, protections for 130 million Americans living with preexisting conditions, including 400,000 Delawareans, would be eliminated. Marie Gilles is just one of the many Delawareans living with a preexisting condition, whose quality, affordable health care is hanging in the balance. After losing her health insurance years ago, Marie was able to enroll in a plan through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace in Delaware. Marie told me that she does not know what she would do if she lost her current health care. It’s why I joined my Democratic colleagues to tell the Trump administration that enough is enough. Together, we’re going to keep fighting these attacks. We cannot move backward and allow the Trump administration to rip health care away from millions of Americans like Marie. I often say, find out what works and do more of that — and the Affordable Care Act is working. We can improve, expand and build on the successes, but taking away affordable, quality care from millions of Americans is simply not an option.”

Coons recounted the story of Barb Slater, from Newark, who was diagnosed with Scleroderma, commonly known as systemic sclerosis, in 2016. After losing her health insurance the same year, thanks to protections for preexisting conditions and the Affordable Care Act, Slater was able to find new coverage on the health insurance marketplace.

“If the lawsuit of Texas v. United States succeeds, Barb Slater will be one of the countless Delawareans who'll be at risk of losing access proper health insurance,” said Coons. “In 2016, Barb was diagnosed with Scleroderma, a chronic connective tissue disease. This diagnosis was followed by the loss of her employer-sponsored coverage. Only because of the Affordable Care Act was Barb able to get new health insurance. This lawsuit, which has the support of President Trump’s administration, could strike down the ACA and cause millions of American families to lose coverage and access to proper health care. In Delaware, nearly 28,000 of our neighbors could lose coverage immediately, and roughly 400,000 residents with preexisting conditions would lose their protections. Instead of undermining our current health care system, we should be pulling together to improve it.”

If the court invalidates the Affordable Care Act, insurers could legally cancel or deny health care coverage to seniors and young people with preexisting conditions; federal funding for Medicaid expansion would end for 17 million people; nearly 12 million seniors — including thousands of Delaware seniors — would have to pay more for prescription drugs because the Medicare ‘donut hole’ will be reopened; 2.3 million young adults will no longer be able to stay on their parents’ insurance; 9 million patients would lose financial assistance to help them purchase health care in the marketplace; and, as a result, the uninsured rate could increase by 65%.