Congressman Horsford Fights for Nevadan’s Access to Affordable, Quality Health Care Amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic

October 20, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C.Today, Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04) advocated for Nevadans’ healthcare access during the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight hearing entitled, “Maximizing Health Coverage Enrollment Amidst Administration Sabotage.” The hearing focused on the significance of maximizing enrollment in quality affordable health coverage, in the face of the Trump administration's ongoing efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during the current global health COVID-19 pandemic. On November 10, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider a Trump lawsuit on the future of the ACA. This case could impact 1.2 million Nevadans with pre-existing conditions and strip away health care from 371,000 Nevadans. 

“Now, more than ever, Nevadans are worried about their health. Instead of focusing on cutting health care for Americans, we ought to improve access and coverage under the ACA because this is the time that Americans need it most,” said Congressman Horsford.We need to tackle the health pandemic by providing robust testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), treatment coverage, and additional safety measures for our frontline workers and those returning to work. We must protect health care coverage that provides protections for pre-existing conditions and federal assistance to cover the full cost of COBRA premiums for laid-off and furloughed workers, which impact many Nevadans.”

Video of the Congressman’s testimony can be watched here.

During the Trump Administration, the nation has gone backwards when it comes to health coverage. Recent census data shows that even before the pandemic, about 2.3 million Americans became uninsured under this Administration and the share of children with health coverage decreased for three consecutive years.

For millions of Americans, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased healthcare insecurity.  Record numbers of Americans have lost employer-sponsored health insurance coverage. Alarmingly, millions more have new expenses for COVID-related testing and care, due to Republican failures —including the refusal to pass a coronavirus relief bill that supports families’ out-of-pocket COVID care costs and the mismanagement of the funds Congress provided to assist uninsured COVID patients.  

A transcript of the Congressman’s remarks can be found below: 

The reason I came to Congress and the reason I worked to join the Ways and Means Committee was to increase access to health care and bring down out-of-pocket the cost of prescriptions for Nevadans.

 President Trump has time and time again made it his number one goal to strip health care away from Americans, with no true plan to replace it.

 And it was surely one thing when the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans repeatedly sought to repeal the ACA in the past, but now….

 Now, in the middle of a global health pandemic that has taken the lives of 220,000 Americans - the likes we have never seen before, the Trump Administration is racing to undermine our healthcare system – one that has already been stretched too thin.

 Instead of focusing on cutting health care to Americans, we ought to be improving access and coverage because NOW is the time that Americans need it most.

 That also means strengthening our health systems by expanding telehealth for rural communities, protecting our frontline medical workers, and implementing real testing, tracing and treatment strategies for COVID-19 so no more American lives are lost.

Yet, here we are again, discussing the full-on assault of the ACA, which would dismantle Nevada’s Medicaid expansion for 371,000 Nevadans.

And protecting key parts of the ACA like state Medicaid expansion should not be a partisan issue – it is common sense. Nevada’s Medicaid Expansion was a bipartisan effort – put into place by a former Republican governor, because he knew it was important to put Nevadan’s health above party.

This administration is looking to strip away protections for 1.2 million Nevadans with pre-existing conditions, which now include even the coronavirus.

It would also abolish guaranteed access to free preventative care like immunizations and cancer screenings.

 I have voted to defend the Affordable Care Act and I’ll continue fighting to protect the health care of working Nevada families.

In Nevada, we currently have nearly 200,000 individuals who are out of work because COVID-19. Nevadans are fearful for their health, their livelihoods, and their ability to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head.

Many furloughed or laid off Nevadans currently get their health care from their employer-sponsored plans and are currently relying on COBRA coverage until they’re able to return to work.

That is why I introduced the Worker Health Coverage Protection Act, to provide financial assistance to workers and families by covering the full cost of COBRA premiums for people who lost their jobs or had their hours reduced because of COVID-19.

Mr. Slavitt, in your testimony, you shared that there are an estimated 14.6 million people who may have lost their employer-sponsored health coverage.

The Commonwealth Fund recently found that in the last three quarters of 2020, one third of those who lose employer sponsored insurance coverage through pandemic-related job loss will become uninsured.

Mr. Slavitt – if the Trump ACA lawsuit succeeds, what will happen to those Americans?

Why is it important to not protect the ACA, even for individuals who like their employer sponsored plans? 

I will continue working to make sure we safeguard the ACA and all of its protections for Americans, and ensure that Nevadans can access their employer-sponsored health care, to protect the hard earned benefits for which workers and families have fought and sacrificed.