Attorney General Becerra Announces New Action to Protect the Affordable Care Act

good morning I want to thank you all for
being here have your bisetta attorney general for the state of California I’m
joined today by two individuals who probably have far deeper knowledge and
understanding of the issues that we’re going to discuss today than I because
they have been in the trenches for some time making it possible for Americans to
believe that the health care system is here to help them and their families
stay well I’d like to introduce Carmela Coyle who is the president and CEO of
the California Hospital Association and also Gail batiste who is a registered
nurse and also the president of SEIU one to one and both of them will speak right
after I do I’ll ask Carmela to say some words first she will turn it over to
Gail and then we’ll take some questions right after that it used to be
how often do we start a sentence like that it used to be that the leading
cause of personal bankruptcy in the country was the fact that you went to a
doctor or hospital and you couldn’t afford to pay your medical bills so you
were left with decisions do I take my child to the hospital knowing that I
might not then be able to pay my mortgage or my rent moving forward it
used to be that we allowed insurance companies to deny you coverage based on
a pre-existing condition such that if you were a woman because you could get
pregnant you were considered a pre-existing condition and it used to be
that a an insurance company could charge you more for the same type of health
insurance coverage as a man simply because as a woman you were considered a
pre-existing condition it used to be that you could be denied services
without paying for them under Medicare for things like wellness care cancer
screenings mammograms immunizations the type of care that today is senior under
Medicare can receive and not have to worry about the cost because they are
all part of the preventative Services that under the Affordable Care Act are
now provided free for many years that was the way of the
world but like so many things in the past
think polyester suits that’s now gone and that’s as a result of the Affordable
Care Act well not polyester suits but the the
inability to get coverage to be denied coverage because of a pre-existing
condition and so forth the Affordable Care Act changed the world in America in
fact it changed the world so much that in California which took on the task of
incorporating the Affordable Care Act in our state and what we call cover
California our marketplace and through the Medicaid expansion program we were
able to add 5 million Californians to the roles of those who no longer had to
worry about going bankrupt because they sent their child to the hospital that no
longer had to worry about denying their child a visit because of a to a hospital
because of a pre-existing condition it was the case that in California we
dropped our uninsurance rates to historic close to a 7% or so when we
hovered in the double digits like so many other states what seemed
unimaginable several years ago is now reality for places like California and
others around the country that have taken on the Affordable Care Act
Kym’s kids can now stay on their family’s health insurance plan until
they turn 26 preventive services like cancer screenings birth control are all
covered out-of-pocket with no particular expense to the families involved anymore
you can’t be asked to pay more or be denied care any longer simply because
you’re a woman and if you’re one of the 133 million Americans with a
pre-existing condition like cancer you cannot be denied coverage any more as a
result of the Affordable Care Act that’s the good news here’s the bad news
in February the state of Texas and some others filed a lawsuit that attempts to
end the entire Affordable Care Act it is an irresponsible action it is a legally
unsound action and it is a dangerous action for millions of Americans who
left the bad days of pre-existing conditions and inability to get care for
their children this lawsuit wants to stop Medicaid from
expanding it wants to stop the tax credits that help people afford their
health insurance this lawsuit wants to allow insurance companies to
deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions this lawsuit
wants the court to take away singers prescription drug discounts and many
more things that’s why today we’re announcing that along with 15 other
attorneys general throughout the country we are filing a motion to intervene in
this case in order to defend not just the state of California but the people
of America and their families across the country when it comes to having quality
affordable health care under the Affordable Care Act we’re taking this
action but attempt to protect the health and financial security of millions of
people in our country as well as the billions of dollars of federal funds
that go to our states to make sure that we can afford the health care that our
families need in our motion to intervene we argue that striking down the
affordable care act would cause immediate and irreparable harm to the
people of our states over eleven point eight million low-income individuals
receive coverage through Medicaid as a result of the Affordable Care Act in the
states that have expanded access this number includes some 3.7 million modest
income Californians as well there are some 10.3 million people
around the country who’ve obtained health insurance through the Affordable
Care Act’s marketplaces what we call covered California here in our state 84%
receive federal tax credits in order to help them pay for the insurance that
they now have the consequences of losing the Affordable Care Act are not
hypothetical not for a family like Angela’s from Yorba Linda here in
California Angela’s daughter was born with a heart defect she has endured to
date two open-heart surgeries before her first birthday needless to say that
could have bankrupted Angela and her family but thanks to the Affordable Care
Act Angela’s daughter can grow up without
fear that her pre-existing condition will deny her access to the life-saving
treatment that she has received Angela’s husband is an Air Force veteran and a
small business owner and they receive coverage through the small group plan
under the Affordable Care Act if the ACA is repealed and the price of insurance
goes up Angela doesn’t know how she will continue to cover the healthcare cost of
her family and certainly not of her daughter that’s what’s at stake in this
lawsuit filed by Texas that’s what’s at stake for the well-being of so many
millions of California and American families if this case goes forward it
will cause chaos in the marketplace real consequences for families providers
insurers businesses and states now we’ve seen this time and time again
Republicans are trying to use the court to take down the Affordable Care Act
because there’s 70-plus attempts to do the same thing through Congress have
failed this action filed by Texas is the latest that my health care task force
here in the California Department of Justice has decided to take on because
it’s our intent to protect the health of California families we stand ready to
respond to all threats to the affordable care act we are
intervening and hope the court will allow us to to come into this case for
the specific purpose of defending families who have received coverage for
health care under the Affordable Care Act because we refused to go back to the
days when health care for our families was left to those who are healthy or
wealthy we refused to go back to the days of polyester suits and so here we
are ready to join in this lawsuit to defend the affordable care act if the
administration is unwilling to do so it’s too important for California it’s
too important for our economy and certain certainly is too important for
families like Angela’s whose life for at least for her daughter may be at stake
with that let me now ask Carmela Coyle the president and CEO of
the California Hospital Association to provide us with some Lord’s words thank
you very much I am Carmela Coyle and I am the president and CEO of the
California Hospital Association and on behalf of California’s 400 hospitals I
am pleased to be here today in support of Attorney General boo Sara’s effort to
protect health care coverage for Californians and to stop the dismantling
of the Affordable Care Act California is enormous right we have a population of
40 million people California’s hospitals have the
privilege of caring for those 40 million people we are powerful we are the sixth
largest economy in the world and the state of California is both privileged
and at the same time poor we have some of the wealthiest areas in the United
States and if you adjust for the cost of living we also have the highest poverty
rate in the country the Affordable Care Act allowed us to make tremendous
advances in health coverage and in health care California ought to be
celebrating what the Affordable Care Act has done for us
we now have 93 percent of Californians covered as a result of the Affordable
Care Act and it not only gave us coverage it gave
people a way to access the care that they really needed that was done through
the Affordable Care Act and through an expansion of our Medicaid program
otherwise known as médicale and it’s preservation is critical we now have one
in three Californians who gets their health care through the medical program
it has allowed doctors and nurses and hospitals to make tremendous strides in
getting people the right care at the right time and in the right setting and
what do I mean by that before the Affordable Care Act for many people
their only option to receive care was in a hospital emergency department very
often the most expensive setting that’s available and very often people would
wait until their care was so acute and so needed what we now can do given that
people have coverage is we can make certain they’re seeing a primary care
physician and getting all of the additional care that they need in
addition to those emergency room visits there is nothing more important for the
health of Californians than preserving the Affordable Care Act we can’t let the
politics in a handful of states risk and erode the gains that we have made here
in this state and the Affordable Care Act expansion which we have used so well
to provide coverage for so many so thank you Attorney General Becerra for your
state and for your national leadership by interceding to preserve coverage for
Californians and with that I would like to introduce our next speaker please she
is gail batiste she is a registered nurse and she is also president of SEIU
one two one Gail my name is Gayle batise I’m a registered
nurse and I’m also president of SEIU Local 1 2 1 RN we represent registered
nurses and professionals throughout Southern California
I’m also an operating room nurse at Dignity Northridge Hospital and at that
hospital prior to the ACA I have seen the difference of what happened to my
patients prior to the ACA they waited to come into the ER because they could not
afford the care and when they came to the ER they were critical
they were either admitted into the ICU our they were admitted into the
operating room from the ER because they were so sick I’ve been became a nurse 34
years ago because I wanted to care for the sick and the vulnerable and that’s
why I’m here today standing with the Attorney General Becerra I’m here to
stand up for my patients the Texas law suit is just another shameful attempt by
the Republicans and Trump administration to dismantle the Affordable Care Act
another attack on the most vulnerable Americans if their lawsuit is successful
it could potentially invalidate crucial parts of the ACA such as eliminating
health care coverage and funding for all Americans including seniors children
people with pre-existing conditions and disabilities when I became a nurse I
took an oath to protect my patients and to advocate for them and do no harm what
Texas and Washington politicians are doing is endangering my patients by
going after their health care this isn’t sound policy is just plain
reckless we cannot go back to the pre ACA days when insurance companies deny
patients with pre-existing conditions we cannot go back to days when families
were bankrupt because of the high cost of medical care we cannot go back to the
days of patients using the ER for primary
care visits we cannot go back to the most vulnerable of hours being
uninsurable my patients and I think Attorney General Xavier Becerra for
filing this motion to intervene thank you so much yo carmella thank you very
much we’ll go ahead and take any questions you might have at this stage
sure very quickly in Spanish oh yes Thomas
I mentioned okay Jessie says Estados fiscal as the DCCC estabas estamos
tomando accion para entrar un caso para defender the Affordable Care Act el la
ley de cuidado medic okay obrigado a acceso a los hospitalists a los doctores
a Munez de familias especial me turkey in California in queremos prota head
esos advances que han permitido que las familias porto de la nación tengan
acceso un cuidado medic okay pourquoi Weyden Pagar a un caso empezar Doan
Tejas que trata de quitarle sí seguro médico a muchas familias mio
nays de familias Y estamos viendo Leyla a la corte knows de la oportunidad de
entrar en este caso para defender al programa obamacare caleb read a doe at
me honest de familias access or por fin un cuidado de calidad para sus hijos e
su Familia and I want to thank both Carmel and Gale for for their words as
well to show that this is a crucial issue for so many families here
throughout California in the United States thank you

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