Physicians throughout New Hampshire are very concerned regarding the numerous attempts to overturn the Affordable Care Act. If overturned, thousands of people across the state would lose their health care insurance and resulting in significant barriers to receiving medical care. As a country, we should be aiming to increase access to care, not make it more difficult for individuals to see their doctor.

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald has been nominated by Governor Sununu to be the next Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. While many questions will be asked of him during his nomination hearings, there is one that clearly needs an answer. Why did he choose not to join a national lawsuit to save the Affordable Care Act with 21 other states?

The effort to prevent the Affordable Care Act from being ruled unconstitutional by federal courts is an effort to help hundreds of thousands of Granite Staters keep affordable health care coverage, as well as protect 30% of the state with a preexisting condition – who are vulnerable to losing insurance coverage. Losing the Affordable Care Act without any replacement would be devastating and cost lives. Medical costs, insurance coverage, and prescription drugs are barely in reach for New Hampshire families today. The only thing holding the line for most people is the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act has dramatically lowered the number of people who are uninsured, lowering costs for everyone.

New Hampshire has a lot at stake. The Granite State has more than 55,000 people who have comprehensive Medicaid coverage as a result of an expansion of the Affordable Care Act. Another 45,000 have subsidized comprehensive plans under the Exchange. These plans include medical services, hospital care, prescription drug coverage, pregnancy and childbirth, mental health services, cancer screening, and preventive services — such as shots and tests — at no cost. In addition, this insurance coverage is a vital tool in our state’s effort to combat substance use disorder and in particular the opiate epidemic that has cost so many lives and devastated New Hampshire and the nation as a whole.

The Trump administration has no replacement plan at all, so the loss of the Affordable Care Act would exacerbate the uninsured rate and cause an increase in everyone’s health care costs. Millions of citizens would simply lose medical insurance and the ability to access medical care.

This lawsuit is not about politics, it is about saving lives, making health care accessible to working families, and offering preventive care and peace of mind. We know that the well-being and public health of all New Hampshire citizens is dependent on health insurance. By not joining the suit to protect the Affordable Care Act, Attorney General MacDonald has made a statement. Now we need to ask him why.

Leonard Korn, MD, of Portsmouth is Immediate Past President, New Hampshire Medical Society.