Recently, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem joined a lawsuit with 18 other states in an attempt to eliminate several of the remaining provisions of the Affordable Care Act. If successful, this lawsuit will end essential protections that working families rely on and replace them with nothing.
These are not side issues for most North Dakota families. These are essential protections and include popular provisions such as allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26 and the prohibiting the denial coverage to working families with preexisting conditions.
As our children leave our homes and enter into the working world, they’ll spend years gaining the education, skills and experience that they will need to enter into a lasting career. While they are gaining this education, skills and experience, health insurance is essential.
Guaranteeing that they can stay on their parent’s insurance plan until the age of 26 protects both child and parent from financial disasters resulting from illness or accident.
Protecting people with preexisting medical conditions is also essential. These are not rare cases. In fact, over 300,000 North Dakotans presently have potentially deniable preexisting conditions. There are tens of thousands of working North Dakotan families that rely this guarantee to protect the health of children or parents with illnesses or injuries. As a culture that holds families with the highest of respect, North Dakota must protect those families unfortunate enough to suffer from preexisting conditions.
Therefore, the North Dakota Union Labor organizations stand against ending these vital protections and ask the attorney general to drop this lawsuit.
Working families across North Dakota need and deserve these protections.
Hedegaard is president of the North Dakota AFL-CIO, Forschen is president of the Missouri Slope Central Labor Council, Froemke is with the Northern Valley Central Labor Council and Bennett is the president of the Northern Plains United Labor Council.