Access to Affordable Healthcare Endangered During Crisis After SC Confirmation and NDGOP Inaction

BISMARCK, ND — Last night, North Dakota’s senators moved the nation toward their goal of eliminating the Affordable Care Act with the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Oral arguments over an anti-ACA lawsuit supported by NDGOP leaders, including Governor Burgum, are set for November 10. This lawsuit puts the ACA on the chopping block, along with its coverage for preexisting conditions and tens of millions of dollars in federal support for North Dakota’s hospitals, especially those in rural areas.

The lawsuit is supported by the North Dakota Republicans who have made no plan to prepare for the fall-out even as North Dakota is currently facing a hospital capacity crisis related to COVID-19. North Dakota Republicans even killed an attempt by Dem-NPL legislators to protect coverage of preexisting conditions in 2019. Prior to the ACA, only 22% of North Dakota Critical Access Hospitals had positive operating margins. By 2019, 50% had positive operating margins.

If the ACA is eliminated, North Dakota would lose:

  • Protections for coverage of preexisting conditions for tens of thousands of North Dakotans.
  • Roughly $10-20 million from a drug discount program for rural hospitals.
  • About $25 million per year in subsidies for rural hospitals as Medicaid Expansion is also eliminated.
  • Coverage for between 20,000-22,000 North Dakotans through Medicaid expansion.

The Democratic-NPL Party Chairwoman Kylie Oversen said:

“Senators Cramer and Hoeven put the healthcare of every North Dakotan in jeopardy by voting for a nominee that could wipe away the Affordable Care Act. That decision will cost North Dakota federal funds that are sustaining our rural hospitals, as we face a dangerous public health crisis that is straining our healthcare system and threatening our state budget. Their vote puts at risk the hundreds of North Dakotans per day now testing positive for COVID-19, as the virus and its after-effects become preexisting conditions. North Dakota Republican legislators and Gov. Burgum have made no plan for the fallout of this callous and rushed decision that could mean life or death as the pandemic ravages our state. This is irresponsible governing at its worst.”