Last month, a Texas judge handed down a despicable decision that threatens the health coverage of 20 million people and undermines pre-existing condition protections for all Americans.
The judge ruled to strike down the entire health care law based on a faulty, partisan reading of the law. But the only reason the attorneys general were even able to file this lawsuit is because of a provision slipped into the president’s tax law last winter, paving the way for this last-ditch attempt to kill health care reform.
The Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land, and no one’s health insurance changes right now. But we must be clear what’s at stake: if this ruling stands, tax credits to help you afford health insurance would be gone.
Protections for the more than 130 million Americans with preexisting conditions would be gone. The ability to stay on your parents’ insurance until you’re 26 would be gone. Ohio’s entire Medicaid expansion would be gone. Limits on how much you pay out-of-pocket each year would be gone.
More affordable prescription drugs for seniors through closing the donut hole would be gone. Requirements for insurance companies to cover essential services like hospital visits would be gone.
And the list goes on.
But all of these attempts to take away these protections have failed before, because Americans fought back, and shared their stories. And we’ll fight back again.
I want to encourage all Ohioans – keep making your voices heard.
Keep sharing your stories about how the ban on preexisting condition discrimination allowed your child with asthma to get coverage. About how being able to shop for insurance on the exchanges allowed you to find a cheaper plan. About how the Medicaid expansion has allowed you to get health coverage for the first time in your life.
Those stories remind policymakers what is at stake, and it’s those stories we need to hear again.
I will never stop fighting to protect Ohioans’ health care, because we cannot go back to the days when insurance companies could deny coverage to the five million Ohioans under age 65 with a preexisting condition.
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) represents Ohio in the U.S. Senate.