Lawmakers joined patient advocates and people sharing personal health care stories Wednesday to speak out against the the Trump administration lawsuit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act.
The event, held outside Sen. Thom Tillis’ office in downtown Raleigh, was part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour, which seeks to highlight what the group says is the danger to more than 100 million Americans protected by the ACA.
“If the Trump administration and the coalition of Republican-led states backing this suit have their way, the courts will do what President Trump and the U.S. Senate have tried and failed to do — overturn the Affordable Care Act,” said Felicia Burnett, Healthcare Director for MomsRising.
“This will threaten protections for 130 million people living with pre-existing conditions,” Burnett said. “People like me, many of you and moms all across this country.”
Burnett shared the story of her son Ethan, who was born with a vascular tumor that required chemotherapy and an external port placed in his heart that needed constant monitoring to avoid infection. Burnett had to leave her job and forego her health insurance to care for him.
“I am one of countless parents in North Carolina who can say that our Medicaid program literally save my child’s life,” said Burnett.
But once Ethan got better, Burnett found it difficult to find insurance on the individual marketplace because she had a pre-existing condition and a gap in coverage.
The Affordable Care Act changed all that, she said. Insurance companies could no longer refuse to offer coverage to her family because of she and Ethan’s pre-existing conditions.
But that guarantee — that Americans won’t find themselves denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition — isn’t the Affordable Care Act’s only virtue, Burnett said. It also prevents insurers from charging women more than men for coverage, prevents caps that deny coverage when patients who have paid into their plan need it most and allows young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance coverage until age 26.
“If the Trump lawsuit succeeds, all that goes away,” Burnett said. “More than 20 million Americans — including a half a million North Carolinians — will lose their health insurance.”