(CNSNews.com) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) said at a press conference in front of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday that Republicans “every place, every chance they get, try to undermine the health and economic security, financial security, of America’s working families.”
The speaker made this observation while discussing a lawsuit that was argued this week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that contends the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) is unconstitutional now that Congress has removed the penalty it imposed for not obeying the mandate to buy health insurance.
“And, the reason they think they have a chance in court is because what they did on the horrible GOP Tax Scam bill, where they undermined the Affordable Care Act there,” said Pelosi, alluding to the tax law’s elimination of the penalty for not complying with the mandate.
“So, every place, every chance they get, they try to undermine the health and economic security, financial security, of America’s working families,” she said.
In the 2012 case of National Federation of Independent v. Sebelius, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not use the Commerce Clause to justify forcing individuals to buy health insurance. However, the court then decided that the “penalty” the law imposed on individuals who did not buy healt insurance was really a tax and that Congress’ constitutional power to levy taxes did justify the mandate to buy health insurance.
In the tax-cut law that Congress enacted in December 2017, the penalty for not buying health insurance was reduced to $0. In the suit that was argued in the Fifth Circuit this week, the attorney generals for 20 states make that case that since the penalty that justified the individual mandate no longer exists the whole of the Obamacare law must be struck down as unconstitutional because the mandate on which it relies is no longer in force.
Here is an excerpt from Pelosi’s press conference where she talks about this case and Republicans trying “to undermine the health and economic security…of America’s working families”:
Thank you to Leader Schumer for bringing us together here, on the steps of the U.S. Senate, to speak out on behalf of all of the American people.
I am pleased to be here with you and with the distinguished Senator, former House Member, Senator Jacky Rosen – who was a champion for health care in the House and now in the Senate. And, with Colin Allred, a Freshman Member who I will introduce in a moment – talk about in a moment – and his role in all of this from day one as a Member of Congress.
Today, House and Senate Democrats are here to show the human stakes of the GOP’s relentless assault on health care.
As oral arguments are being heard today in GOP’s Texas v. U.S. lawsuit, we gather to give voice to the hard-working Americans whose health and economic security are in jeopardy.
Today, the Trump Administration is demanding that the court strike down every last provision of the ACA. Protecting protections for the over 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and their families, bans on lifetime and annual limits, as the Leader mentioned, that can have a very devastating impact financially, as well as health-wise, for a family. The Medicaid expansion – again, as the Leader mentioned, the Medicaid expansion in the ACA, very important to people born with a pre-existing condition, babies born with a pre-existing condition and families otherwise, savings for seniors on prescription drug cost, the premium assistance that makes health coverage affordable for millions of American families.
As you all know, the Affordable Care Act extended benefits to 20 million people who did not have health care before and that was very important – a major achievement in itself, but that was not the full extent of the bill.
130 million Americans have pre-existing conditions and they are affected by this law case. And, what’s interesting about it is during the campaign, across the country, the Republicans were saying, ‘We’re for preserving the pre-existing medical condition [protections],’ and yet they vote over and over again to prevent it and now they’re taking it to court.
And, the reason they think they have a chance in court is because what they did on the horrible GOP Tax Scam bill, where they undermined the Affordable Care Act there. Every chance they get, they try to undermine the health and financial security of America’s working families.
The ACA is a pillar of health and economic security, standing alongside Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. But the GOP is showing that they want to destroy the Affordable Care Act for America’s families.
With the leadership of Colin Allred, as I mentioned earlier, and our outstanding Freshman class, our Majority voted on day one to show the full legal weight of the House against this disastrous GOP lawsuit.
But more than 190 Republicans that day voted to be fully complicit in the Administration’s attempt to tear away health care protections. Families across the nation have called on Congress to ‘Protect Our Care’ and House Democrats are fighting for them.
And may I pay tribute to the mobilization on the outside, our inside maneuvering is very important to pass legislation, but we cannot succeed without the outside mobilizations of so many patient advocacy groups, Little Lobbyists, so many groups united in collaborating to protect our care. I thank them. I thank them for their leadership and their success.
Democrats will continue to fight For The People to lower health care costs and the cost of prescription drugs and to protect people with pre-existing conditions.
I want to call to your attention, and I am so proud that so many colleagues in the House and Senate are here with their examples. We all have so many to choose from because there are so many examples in our constituencies.
I am here with Jonah Cohen, he’s my constituent in San Francisco. Jonah is eleven years old and will be entering into the sixth grade this fall.
On April 11, 2017, his life dramatically changed when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. It’s been a hard adjustment especially as he has a phobia of shots, but he is trying to continue to live a normal life. He has a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do and plays piano. He’s a lovely young man.
Now imagine – this descended upon their family on April of last year. Every family in America is one phone call, one diagnosis, one accident away, from being slaves to pre-existing conditions, the cost that they incur, and more important, the health of family members.
It is really important that the Court honor its precedents when it ruled in favor of the Affordable Care Act on a previous occasion.