Mid-Pandemic Attack on ACA Threatens Protections for Preexisting Conditions, Rural Hospitals

BISMARCK, ND —  In the middle of the covid-19 pandemic and with cases rising in many parts of the country, the Justice Department sent a late-night brief to the Supreme Court asking to eliminate the entire Affordable Care Act. Without the ACA, thousands of North Dakotans would lose protections for preexisting conditions and our struggling rural hospitals would lose funding that kept them running even before covid-19 strained the healthcare system further. 

An additional 10,000 North Dakotans lost healthcare coverage during the pandemic that is far from over. About 35,000 North Dakotans would lose coverage in total, according to a Center for American Progress report published this week. Medicaid expansion, which the ACA made possible, has helped stabilize rural hospitals that have faced financial struggles for years, and are necessary infrastructure in their communities. 

Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem support the lawsuit.

The Democratic-NPL Party Executive Director Michael Taylor said: 

“Even amid one of the greatest public health and economic crises the country has ever faced, Godfread and Stenehjem remain committed to a lawsuit that would strip protections for preexisting conditions and doom rural hospitals that provide invaluable critical access care. Whether we see another covid-19 wave or not, this lawsuit puts access to healthcare in jeopardy for thousands of North Dakotans.”