AP Photo/Patrick Semansky Donald Trump
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

“It’s outrageous that President Trump would reaffirm his commitment to the lawsuit that would rip coverage away from 20 million Americans during a briefing about an ongoing unprecedented health crisis.”

Although the United States is going through a once-in-a-century pandemic that threatens the lives of millions, President Trump reiterated on Sunday that he wants to “terminate” the Affordable Care Act. The 2010 law has provided more than 20 million Americans with healthcare and guaranteed coverage for the 135 million Americans under 65 who live with pre-existing conditions. 

“We are running the bad health care much better than it was ever run and we’re making it better,” Trump falsely stated Sunday during a coronavirus task force press conference. “What we want to do is terminate it. Have a great healthcare. But we will only do it with pre-existing. We will back pre-existing conditions.”

Trump’s comments, which came ahead of Monday’s 10-year anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, contradict his record. Despite his public insistence that he wants to protect pre-existing conditions, Trump and other Republicans have repeatedly tried to weaken protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions

The Trump administration is also supporting a lawsuit from the state of Texas that seeks to strike down the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, which would take healthcare away from nearly 20 million Americans, take away protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, and allow insurers to once again place lifetime dollar limits on coverage. In this scenario, insurers could once again decline to cover benefits for people once they reach a certain dollar threshold, meaning chronically ill individuals could be denied care. 

RELATED: The Supreme Court Will Decide Whether 20 Million Americans Can Keep Their Health Coverage

The lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act is set to be heard by the Supreme Court this fall, but Trump’s comments about terminating the law were immediately criticized by healthcare advocacy groups.

“It’s outrageous that President Trump would reaffirm his commitment to the lawsuit that would rip coverage away from 20 million Americans during a briefing about an ongoing unprecedented health crisis,” Leslie Dach, chair of Protect our Care, said in a statement. “No one should have to worry about the status of their health care, particularly during a time when Americans are more concerned than ever about their health and safety. To effectively fight the coronavirus, we need to ensure that people are getting the care and treatment they need.”

“No one should have to worry about the status of their health care, particularly during a time when Americans are more concerned than ever about their health and safety.”

Democratic lawmakers also reiterated their opposition to the lawsuit on Monday, with Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan taking to Twitter to highlight the importance of the Affordable Care Act during the coronavirus outbreak.

“As Michiganders & Americans continue to grapple with the spread of Coronavirus, it’s crystal clear we must ensure access to quality, affordable health care,” Peters wrote. “I urged the Trump Admin to once again drop their dangerous efforts to sabotage and undermine the health care law.”

Without insurance, the cost of coronavirus treatments could be enormous. One Boston-area woman who is uninsured was charged nearly $35,000 for treatment for COVID-19, according to Time Magazine.

In response to the growing threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic, at least eight states have reopened their Affordable Care Act Enrollment periods, providing uninsured residents another chance to sign up for health insurance. Those states are: Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington. California also announced it will extend the enrollment period of its exchange, which was already open, through June. 

But most states rely on the federal government’s marketplace, which is overseen by the Trump administration. The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that the Trump administration is considering whether to create its own special enrollment period for Affordable Care Act coverage. It’s unclear whether they will follow through with the proposal, but it could make a world of difference for uninsured Americans who are diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Subscribe to our Courier Newsroom network daily coronavirus update here.