Washington, D.C. — As the Trump administration continues to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the federal courts, including protections for Americans with preexisting conditions, the Center for American Progress Action Fund is releasing a new video in a social media campaign to educate Americans on what’s at stake. The campaign is telling the stories of Americans such as Jarah Cotton, a student from Powder Springs, Georgia, who is beginning her first semester at Harvard University, where she plans to major in biomedical engineering. Before being accepted into Harvard, Jarah was diagnosed with lupus, an incurable autoimmune disease that causes one’s immune system to attack its own tissues and organs. Given the administration’s attempts to repeal the law and its protections for preexisting conditions, Jarah and her mother, Kendra, worry that she will be unable to receive the treatment that she needs for her preexisting condition. As Jarah says in the video, repealing the ACA and its protections puts lives at risk.
“The ACA provides a lot more than just a means by which people can obtain health care,” she says. “The ACA also covers people with preexisting conditions from being discriminated against by insurance agencies. The ACA forbids insurance agencies from imposing lifetime limits on people, and those protections are things that people cannot live without. Trump’s attempts to scrap all of those protections are really, really frightening for me.”
In July, after dozens of failed attempts by the Trump administration to repeal or replace the ACA with an alternative health care plan, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit heard oral arguments in the case of Texas v. Azar, a 20-state lawsuit backed by the Trump administration seeking to overturn the entire ACA. Caught in the balance of the court fight are people such as Jarah; 20 million Americans would lose health care coverage and more than 130 million Americans would lose preexisting conditions protections nationwide if these efforts are successful.
The ongoing attacks by the Trump administration on the ACA are a stark departure from President Donald Trump’s promise to preserve protections for preexisting conditions—a broken promise and clear contradiction that Jarah’s mother calls out.
“It’s easy to say something, but then when your own Justice Department is showing up arguing against that policy, I know who I’m believing, and I call bull,” she says. “This is not a game. I’m right now talking about an 18-year-old kid who’s on my health insurance. But it’s going to be quite dangerous for her once she ages out, should ACA go away and those protections go away. So it concerns me, as a parent, to have someone yield that type of power. That’s essentially playing with my kid’s life.”
According to Jarah, the administration’s ongoing attacks on the ACA aren’t surprising given President Trump’s position on the law, but she says he made a clear promise to keep protections for people with preexisting conditions.
“Of course we all knew that he was going to try to repeal Obamacare, but he has said he was going to try to protect preexisting conditions, he’s going to try to repeal and replace at this point, but he is not. I mean, it’s the promises that he’s broken, and that’s a promise that really needs to be kept,” she says.
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