CONCORD, N.H. — Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said New Hampshire will join 17 other states in defending the Affordable Care Act as a case that is aimed at repealing the law goes before the U.S. Supreme Court.
While he does not believe the law known as Obamacare has cut health care costs, Sununu told WMUR-TV that repealing the law without an “adequate replacement” would be harmful to New Hampshire residents.
“The state has no choice but to join the bipartisan effort to defend the program,” Sununu said Wednesday.
He added, “To just pull it away and repeal it without a replacement, it would be devastating to New Hampshire.”
The Supreme Court agreed Monday to rule on a lawsuit that threatens the health care law. The court said it would hear an appeal by mainly Democratic states of a lower-court ruling that declared part of the statute unconstitutional. A decision won’t come until after the 2020 election.
The Supreme Court has shifted to the right since President Donald Trump appointed two justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Chief Justice John Roberts is considered a swing vote in this case and another before the nation’s highest court on a Louisiana abortion law.
Sununu’s running for a third term. His decision puts him in opposition to a group of Republican-led states and the Trump administration, which is pushing to overturn the law.
“Every state is very different,” Sununu said. “The ACA doesn’t impact other states like it impacts New Hampshire. It’s hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of citizens. To just throw their health care system away on a moment’s notice, we have to fight for what works.”
Sununu said he hopes Congress passes a replacement program while the case is pending.
“We’d love to see a system that brings costs down and a system that actually achieves the goal of more choice in health care,” he said.
Last year, Sununu signed a bill authored by Democrats aimed at protecting people with pre-existing conditions if the Affordable Care Act is dismantled. At the time, he said “completely dismantling the ACA would have a pretty shocking effect on our system.”