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Florida Congressional Members Underscore Patient Protections, Expanded Coverage Amidst Coronavirus Crisis

Marking the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), U.S. House Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Donna Shalala, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo discussed why the ACA is especially important amidst the coronavirus crisis and slammed Trump for continuing his effort to repeal it.

Yesterday, Trump doubled down on his lawsuit to repeal the ACA, which would strip patient protections from at least 3,526,000 Floridians with pre-existing conditions and increase the number of uninsured Floridians by 67%. The ACA is a critical tool to help respond to this pandemic, from requiring health care plans cover “essential health benefits,” to increasing CDC funding, to requiring plans cover all vaccinations recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo

“Ten years ago today, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, helping give millions of Floridians quality, affordable health care. The coronavirus pandemic has made the ACA, and the coverage and protection it provides Americans, even more important today. Unfortunately, we have a president in office who has shown he is incompetent — especially when it comes to our health care. Trump has spent his time in office working to undermine the ACA without coming up with a plan for the millions of people who would lose coverage if the law was repealed.

“Trump has been incometent on health care since he took office, but his failure to prepare for coronavirus, despite early warnings, is his worst lapse in judgement. Instead of listening to the experts, his strategy was to deny, delay, and distort the truth.”

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz

“It is unconscionable that this Republican administration is still trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act at this very moment of historic uncertainty and anxiety around health care coverage and costs. Just yesterday, at the President’s daily effort to lie the coronavirus into submission, Trump had the nerve to defend trying to take away millions of Americans’ health care.”

[…] “I also want to single out our Republican Governor for the ongoing failure to expand Medicaid coverage in Florida, which the ACA enabled and would be a huge relief for anxious Floridians right now. Nearly one million Floridians who could have health insurance don’t because Florida Republicans have left them twisting in the wind. The failure to expand it has arguably resulted in thousands of additional deaths in Florida already and if they were to expand it now, hundreds of thousands of our friends and neighbors would gain coverage.”

Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell

“At a time when health care coverage is more important than ever, the White House and the Trump Administration continues to press for the repeal of this act. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is using the ACA’s own tools to combat the spread of the pandemic. I have taken action along with my colleagues to protect and expand the ACA in the face of this growing pandemic. We signed a letter in Congress asking the administration to drop its lawsuit against the ACA in light of the current crisis. We have called on the Department of Health and Human Services to open a special ACA enrollment period and I’ve co-sponsored legislation to require a special enrollment period for the ACA marketplace coverage any time there is an emergency declaration.

“The Affordable Care Act has been a game changer for working class families, especially in my district which is a majority-minority district, and I will continue to fight for these protections. We are going through a very, very serious public health crisis and the Trump administration continues to take away the only tool available for Americans to protect themselves. It’s time for the administration to stop this reckless attack on our health care.”

Congresswoman Donna Shalala

“There are 100,000 people in my congressional district who have health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. My constituents would be without health insurance while facing down the possibility of getting infected by this devastating virus.

“Just last night Trump was asked if he would stop trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and he said again ‘what we want to do is get rid of the bad health care and put in great health care.’ That is an absurdity, there is no plan for ‘great health care,’ there is only a plan to take away people’s access to health care.”

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