Despite Previous Statements, Thom Tillis Votes to Confirm Anti-Health Care Judge Chad Readler

In 2017, Senator Thom Tillis claimed that he supported keeping protections for pre-existing conditions, but last week he voted to give a lifetime appointment to a judge that led the effort to eliminate protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

Protect Our Care North Carolina and health care advocates were turned away when they attempted to hand-deliver a letter to Senator Thom Tillis’ Raleigh office condemning Tillis’ vote to confirm Chad Readler to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The letter, included below, was signed by health care advocacy organizations and progressive groups including Action NC, NARAL Pro-Choice NC, and NC National Organization for Women (NOW).

On Wednesday, the Senate voted to confirm Readler, who as Acting Assistant Attorney General filed the Trump administration’s brief in support of Texas v. United States, a lawsuit brought by 20 Republican state officials to invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA).

In filing this brief, Readler put the full weight of the Department of Justice behind the partisan effort to repeal the ACA and put millions of Americans’ health care in jeopardy. President Trump then nominated Readler for a judicial seat the same day he filed his brief, signaling the Trump administration’s intent to continue its attacks on health care.

In addition to the letter below, activists collected dozens of stories from individuals in North Carolina who could lose their coverage if Chad Readler’s position prevails. Nearly 4 million North Carolinians live with a pre-existing condition, and their health care would be ripped away without the Affordable Care Act’s protections.

In December 2018, a federal judge sided with Readler, and declared the ACA unconstitutional. If this ruling stands, here are just some of the protections Americans would lose:

- Marketplace tax credits and coverage for 10 million people.
- Medicaid expansion currently covering 15 million people.
- Protections for more than 130 million people with pre-existing conditions when they buy coverage on their own.
- Allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26.
- Free annual wellness exams.
- Ban on annual and lifetime limits.
- Ban on insurance discrimination against women.
- Contraception with no out-of-pocket costs.
- Limit on out-of-pocket costs.
- Requirement that insurance companies cover essential benefits like prescription drugs, maternity care, and hospitalization.
- Improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs.
- Closed Medicare prescription drug donut hole.
- Rules to hold insurance companies accountable.
- Small business tax credits.

March 8, 2019

The Honorable Thom Tillis
310 New Bern Avenue, Suite 122
Raleigh, NC 27601

Dear Senator Tillis,

As advocates for quality, affordable health care for all, we are appalled at your decision to put the lives of millions of your own constituents at risk by voting to give Chad Readler a lifetime appointment to the United States Court of Appeals.

As you are no doubt aware, Mr. Readler, as a senior official at the US Department of Justice, has been one of the leading proponents in the Trump administration’s lawsuit arguing that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, threatening health care for tens of millions of people in our country. Specifically, if Mr. Readler’s position were to ultimately prevail, health care for over 4 million North Carolinians would be ripped away.

In addition to eliminating protections for pre-existing conditions, the ACA repeal that Mr. Readler advocates would result in North Carolinians losing protected annual wellness exams, gender parity protections, and improvements to Medicare. Insurance companies would once again be able to impose annual and lifetime limits on care and mandate outrageous out-of-pocket costs.

Chad Readler’s record speaks for itself: he is one of the most radical, anti-health care judges put forward by the Trump administration. Three of his USDOJ colleagues refused to sign his brief, and one colleague actually resigned in protest. Legal scholars noted that Mr. Readler’s arguments “violate(d) basic black-letter principles” of law.

We can do better than this! The people of North Carolina will remember your votes to directly and indirectly sabotage their health care and take away a critical lifeline for the least among us. Please stand up for North Carolina values and protect our health care.