During the vice presidential debate on Wednesday night, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., had a warning: “If you have a preexisting condition — heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer — they’re coming for you,” Harris said. “If you love someone who has a preexisting condition, they’re coming for you. If you are under the age of 26 on your parents’ coverage, they’re coming for you.”
Of course, Harris was referring to President Donald Trump’s efforts to strike down the Affordable Care Act. The law bans insurers from denying coverage or charging more to people with preexisting conditions, which some 1 in 4 Americans report having.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law on March 23, 2010, also required insurers to cover dependents until their 26th birthday.
In a statement, Ken Farnaso, deputy national press secretary for the Trump campaign, denied that the president would leave millions of Americans without health insurance.
“President Trump has fought to safeguard patients with pre-existing conditions, lower prescription drug prices, lower premiums, and will always put the health of patients first,” Farnaso said.
Yet it may make sense to heed Harris’ words of caution.
The Supreme Court is soon slated to hear oral arguments in a case seeking to overturn the law, commonly known as Obamacare, in November after the presidential election. As many as 30 million people could be stripped of their insurance if the law was cancelled.
And even without those losses, the coronavirus pandemic has caused the ranks of the uninsured to swell. Amid historic levels of unemployment, as many as 12 million Americans may have lost their health insurance since February, according to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute.