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Concord, NH -- Yesterday, Sen. Maggie Hassan was joined by New Hampshire health advocates and Granite Staters on a virtual press conference to discuss what’s at stake for health care as Republicans rush to fill a Supreme Court vacancy with a nominee who has repeatedly opposed the Affordable Care Act during a global pandemic. Speakers included Granite State Progress leader Zandra Rice Hawkins, disability rights advocate Lisa Beaudoin, Ammonoosuc Community Health Services CEO Ed Shanshala, New Durham resident and Medicare recipient Mary Osborne, and Atkinson parents Joe and Michelle O’Leary. These leaders and community members highlighted the grave threat that Granite Staters will face if the Affordable Care Act is overturned when it comes before the Supreme Court next month.


On November 10, one week after the election, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in California v. Texas, the lawsuit led by the Trump administration and 18 Republican state attorneys general to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. If they succeed and the Affordable Care Act is eliminated, 105,000 Granite Staters could lose access to health care and 517,300 Granite Staters with pre-existing conditions could lose vital protections. 


Senator Maggie Hassan highlighted the immense danger of repealing the Affordable Care Act during the COVID-19 pandemic.


“Repealing the protections in the Affordable Care Act would be bad enough in any circumstance, but here we are, in the middle of a pandemic, and it would be truly devastating to repeal those protections now…”


Zandra Rice Hawkins, a leader with Granite State Progress, noted that hundreds of thousands of Granite Staters rely on the Affordable Care Act for coverage, and they will face an uncertain health future if it is ripped away


“We faced a lot of attempts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act… and the fact that we have still had so many Granite Staters go back to sign up for health care coverage is really a testimony to how much people appreciate the consumer protections... and how much they want to have health care that they can afford and that they can count on.”


Michelle and Joe O’Leary, parents from Atkinson, New Hampshire, whose son has a rare condition that requires bi-weekly treatment, stressed the threat to protections for people with pre-existing conditions if the Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed.


“So this election now, more than ever, is about our sons... I am sick to my stomach on a daily basis thinking about this vote that’s coming up,” said Michelle. “As we all know, the ACA was made to protect those preexisting conditions... so this idea that [those protections are] just going to miraculously happen without any formal healthcare in place, without any program in place, is really dishonest.”


Joe added, “It’s so essential that we have the ability to go in every two weeks and get this life-saving treatment because it gives us more time with our son.”


Mary Osborne, a New Durham resident who relies on the ACA for pre-existing condition protections for herself and her son, reiterated the fear that she and her son will lose vital care without those protections.


“After the passing of the Affordable Care Act, many of my fears started to disappear. I no longer had to fear that I was going to be denied coverage because of my preexisting conditions. I no longer had to fear that I would be faced with a higher premium because I was a woman. I no longer had to fear that I would lose access to preventative care, like getting my annual physical … The ACA helped to create quality healthcare for me and my family, “ said Osborne. “Over the years, though… many of my fears have started to creep back into my life. It is my fear that I and my child’s healthcare rights will be taken away from us.”


Lisa Beaudoin, the executive director of ABLE NH and a disability rights advocate who lost three limbs in a car accident last year, emphasized the dire consequences for herself and for the people she works with if Republicans succeed in dismantling the ACA.


“Prior to the passage of the ACA, I couldn’t afford healthcare, which of course, in my case… has been critical for me to be able to not only get the surgeries but the rehabilitation services I need to relearn to walk.”


Ed Shanshala, the CEO of Ammonoosuc Community Health Services, remarked on the grave challenges facing his patients if the ACA is overturned by the Supreme Court next month.


“The ACA and the Medicaid expansion have been critical to so many of our patients who otherwise were uninsured,” said Shanshala. “Together we’re better. We’ll get to the other end of this, and amongst us, we’ll find solutions that help our friends, family, and neighbors to stay healthy in an affordable way.”

You can watch the press call here and you can hear what’s at stake for parents like Michelle and Joe O’Leary here. You can learn more about how the Trump administration's lawsuit to eliminate the Affordable Care Act would devastate Granite Staters here.