WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Congressional Democrats staged a demonstration Wednesday in hopes of showing the American public who would suffer should a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act succeeds.
Oral arguments began in a New Orleans federal courtroom on a case brought by the state of Texas seeking to declare the Obamacare law unconstitutional.
Democratic lawmakers gathered on the steps of the U.S. Senate holding photos of Americans who would be affected if the law were to be struck down.
“Donald Trump and the Republicans want to take away your health care,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
Schumer, D-New York, says without the ACA, 130 million people with pre-existing conditions will lose access to affordable health care.
“The faces that you see behind us are Americans—millions of Americans who will suffer,” he added.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, held a photo of a young girl named Xiomara from Silver Spring who was born with 10 pre-existing conditions.
“If we did not have the Affordable Care Act in place, there is absolutely no way her family would be able afford the care that she needs to stay alive,” Van Hollen said.
Inside the courtroom, Republican attorneys general supported by the U.S. Justice Department began oral arguments against the constitutionality of the ACA. Sen. Van Hollen says if it is struck down, Republicans don’t have a plan to replace it.
“Before you throw out a plan that provides more affordable health care, you would think that someone has an alternative to help those people, but there is no alternative,” he said.
But Republicans say removing the ACA won’t stop coverage of pre-existing conditions.
“I have no doubt that once again, they’ll try to blame Republicans as the bad guys,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.
“If there’s one thing that, I think, there is a consensus on in the health care field in Congress, it is that pre-existing conditions should be covered,” he continued. “In fact, there are pieces of legislation that I’ve co-sponsored here in the Senate that do that expressly.”
Van Hollen says Republicans could put an end to this uncertainty by ending the lawsuit.