Washington D.C. – The Affordable Care Act has survived numerous court battles and repeal efforts, but a new case is threatening the law’s future once again. A federal judge in Fort Worth, Tex., will hear arguments Wednesday on whether to grant a preliminary injunction that would suspend the health law until the case is decided. He has also indicated that he might go straight to ruling on the merits of the case, The New York Times reported.
As oral arguments began in a federal District Court in Texas in the Republicans’ Texas v. United States lawsuit to strike down the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Wednesday, Congressman Eliot L. Engel blasted Republicans’ assaults on people with pre-existing conditions in the Congress and the courts.
The Republican lawsuit jeopardizes the health care of 130 million Americans, including 68 million women and girls, nationwide. In New York alone, the health care of 8,398,900 people, including 4,174,000 women and girls, could be dismantled if the lawsuit succeeds.
“First, Republicans voted to take away protections for pre-existing conditions; now they’re suing to destroy these protections in the courts,” Engel pointed out.
Presiding over the case is Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas, who was appointed by President George W. Bush. The judge has previously blocked Obama-era efforts to extend medical leave protections to same-sex couples and to include gender-identity discrimination as a form of sex discrimination under the health law.
The case is being brought by a group of 20 Republican state attorneys general and the governors of Maine and Mississippi. They argue that the law is unconstitutional and should be struck down.
“Last year, New York families rose up to defeat the House Republican plan to end protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions like asthma, diabetes, cancer, mental illness or substance abuse and push tens of millions more off their affordable, quality coverage,” Engel said. “But Republicans have chosen to ignore the will of the people once again, and are now pushing a lawsuit that would spell the end of basic protections that prevent insurers from denying coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions or charging them more. It is absolutely appalling that Republicans are working to make sure that innocent people, including babies and little children, could be deprived of affordable coverage for their entire lives.
“Americans’ health care will never be safe as long as Republicans control Washington. I am proud to stand with New York families to fight the vicious GOP attacks on families’ quality, affordable coverage, and to ensure that all have access to the health care that they need.”