Dakotans for Health oppose Texas vs US

Sep 25, 2018

Former North Dakota US Senator Byron Dorgan says he's troubled by Congressman Kevin Cramer and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem supporting a lawsuit aimed at overturning the Affordable Care Act.

Stenehjem, along with attorneys general from about 20 other states, have joined in filing a lawsuit in Texas to challenge the Affordable Care Act. Congressman Cramer has voted numerous times to repeal the law.

A group called Dakotans for Health, comprised of former public officials, caregivers and health care advocates, have come out in support of a new study by Georgetown University outlining the impact repealing the law would have on states like North Dakota. Dorgan says the study shows Texas vs US would be hardest on states like North Dakota, where farmers and small business owners would take the biggest hit. He says between elderly citizens covered by Medicaid expansion, North Dakotans who bought insurance on the health care exchange, and citizens age 26 and younger no longer being on their parent's plans - about 50,000 North Dakotans would lose their coverage.

"This is a pretty thoughtless thing to do. And the question I ask the attorney general and also Congressman Cramer who had a press conference with him supporting it, is - how did you decide to do this? How did you decide to consign North Dakota's health care interests to some dusty courtroom in Texas? Did you take a poll? Did you ask doctors and patients? I mean, how did you make that decision? Or was it just serendipitous that you decided, we've always hated this law - therefore, we're going to decide to try and get it repealed."

Dorgan says one of the more devastating effects of a repeal of the Affordable Care Act would be the loss of insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. He says the timing of the Texas vs US lawsuit also comes at a tough time while farmers and ranchers are struggling to cope with the impact of Chinese tariffs. Dorgan says roughly 65 percent of North Dakota farmers and ranchers have pre-existing medical conditions.