WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, highlighting the importance of the Affordable Care Act to Nevadans and Americans in all corners of our country. Rosen’s letter stresses the importance of the law’s protections for those with pre-existing conditions and highlights two new studies demonstrating the ACA’s positive impact on health outcomes for Latinos and underrepresented populations.
“A Commonwealth Fund report published just last week demonstrates how the Affordable Care Act has significantly narrowed racial and ethnic disparities in access to health care,” wrote Senator Rosen. “For example, according to the study, the uninsured rate for Latino adults across the country has decreased from 40.2 percent to 24.9 percent over the period the ACA has been in effect, which is of particular importance to a state like Nevada, where over of a quarter of the population is Latino.”
“Overall, over 20 million previously uninsured Americans have secured health insurance through the ACA, including 12 million individuals who gained coverage through the Medicaid expansion,” Rosen’s letter continued. “In Nevada, our uninsured rate was cut in half from 2008 to 2018 – from 22 percent to 11 percent – and the state’s Medicaid expansion has been an unqualified success. This is news that should be celebrated across the political spectrum, not challenged in the courts. I have great concern that the ongoing federal lawsuit in opposition to the ACA and supported by this Administration represents a serious threat to the health of millions and the positive health outcomes the law has brought about.”
Read the full text of the letter here.
BACKGROUND: In January 2019, as one of her first actions in the Senate, Senator Rosen joined Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) in introducing a resolution that would authorize Senate Legal Counsel to intervene in Texas v. United States – a pending lawsuit in federal court, on behalf of the U.S. Senate, in order to defend the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act and its coverage protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Earlier this year, the Trump Administration filed a brief in this case calling for the courts to strike down the ACA in its entirety. Last Congress, then-Congresswoman Rosen introduced the same resolution in the House. Rosen’s House resolution was co-sponsored by the Ranking Members of all House committees of jurisdiction in addition to Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer. The resolution had nearly 190 co-sponsors by the end of the 115th Congress.
In March, Senator Rosen also helped introduce a resolution that would provide the sense of the Senate that the Justice Department should reverse its policy of refusing to defend the constitutionality of the ACA, including the law’s coverage protections for those with pre-existing conditions, in Texas v. United States.
In October, Rosen co-sponsored an amendment to this year’s appropriations bill that would prohibit the Department of Justice from using any funds for litigation relating to deeming the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, invalid, unenforceable, or the individual mandate not being severable from the rest of the law.
Earlier this year, Rosen and Senator Lisa Murkowski introduced the Improving Access to Health Care in Rural and Underserved Areas Act, bipartisan legislation to provide additional support for primary care providers in rural and underserved areas through accredited continuing medical education and clinical support.