Senate Democrats Announce & Demand Vote On New Measure To Authorize Senate To Defend Constitutionality Of Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions In Texas V. U.S. Lawsuit

July 19, 2018

Trump Administration Recently Announced They Would Side With The 20 States In Texas V. U.S. Lawsuit, Which Challenges The Constitutionality Of The Health Care Law, Including The Consumer Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions – Senate Dem Resolution Would Authorize Senate Legal Counsel To Intervene To Defend These Vital Health Care Protections 

 Many Republican-Backed Lawsuits, Including Texas V. United States, Targeting U.S. Health Care System Are Moving Through The Courts And Could Soon Come Before The Supreme Court – Dems Argue These Lawsuits Are Latest Example Of The Administration’s All-Out Assault On Health Care System And Would Leave The Up To 133 Million Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions, Older Americans, And Women At Risk For Higher Health Care Costs Or Denial Of Coverage Altogether 

Senate Dems To GOP: The Senate Must Right The Administration’s Wrong And Defend Protections For Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions

Washington, D.C. – Senate Democrats today introduced a Senate resolution that would authorize Senate Legal Counsel to intervene in the Texas vs. United States lawsuit, on behalf of the U.S. Senate, to defend protections for people with pre-existing conditions. After Congressional Republicans zeroed out the health insurance coverage requirement in their partisan tax legislation, the State of Texas and a coalition of 19 other states legally challenged the constitutionality of  the Affordable Care Act, including the consumer protections for people with pre-existing conditions in a new suit: Texas vs. United States. Instead of defending the law and these vital health care protections, the Trump administration’s Department of Justice announced in June that, in keeping with their continued, politically-motivated efforts to sabotage the American health care system to the detriment of middle-class families across the country, they are abandoning their responsibility to defend the laws of our country, siding with the 20 states challenging our health care law.

The Senate Democrats – led by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Bob Casey (D-PA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)— urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans to sign on to the resolution to show that they truly support vital protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The resolution highlights the Trump administration’s systematic dismantling of the American health care system, which has created a cloud of uncertainty for insurers all across the country, thereby increasing costs on hard-working American families. Given the urgent need to offset these actions, ensure pre-existing condition protections are here to stay, and lower health care costs for American families, the Democrats also urged Senate Majority Leader McConnell to immediately schedule a vote on the new resolution.

“Right now, the Attorney General of West Virginia has joined a lawsuit that would allow insurance companies to once again deny coverage to West Virginians with pre-existing conditions. And now the Department of Justice has refused to defend the existing law, putting nearly 800,000 West Virginians with pre-existing conditions in jeopardy of losing their healthcare. West Virginians with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, women who are pregnant, and many other illnesses and conditions, and their families will be directly affected. We cannot go back to a time when insurance companies played God and allow them to decide who will be insured and who will not. For a lot of West Virginians with pre-existing conditions, insurance coverage is the difference between life and death. This resolution will allow the Senate to play the role the DOJ has refused to take on—one of defending the existing law and West Virginians with pre-existing conditions,” said Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV).  

“Protections for those with pre-existing conditions are vital, yet this administration, aided by Congressional Republicans, is doing all it can to end them,” said Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). “We will defend the pre-existing condition protections in court. If Senate Republicans support protections for people with pre-existing conditions as they claim, then they should support this resolution.”

“We cannot return to the days of allowing insurance companies to deny coverage to children born with cystic fibrosis, cancer survivors, and those with chronic back pain,” said Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). “This lawsuit, if successful, will leave more than one million Missourians with pre-existing conditions out in the cold—that’s wrong and I’m committed to fighting tooth and nail to prevent that.”  

“The Trump administration and Congressional Republicans’ systematic and politically-motivated efforts to sabotage our health care system, raising costs on working families and threatening coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions, continues to reach new lows,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “The decision to not defend pre-existing condition protections demonstrates the lengths that this administration is willing to go to ‘win’ a game it started, and in which the people who lose are 133 million Americans and their families.”  

“If this administration won’t defend critical protections that are in law to safeguard affordable, quality health care for thousands of individuals and children with pre-existing conditions, like asthma, cancer, diabetes, or pregnancy – then the Senate should step in and fill that void,” said Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). “The health reform law isn’t perfect, and I’ve long offered ways to make it work better – but undermining families’ health care is not the answer and I’ll fight every day to make sure North Dakota individuals, parents, children, and seniors can get the affordable health care they deserve.”

“I’m joining this effort to support protecting health care coverage for Hoosiers with pre-existing conditions. We should not return to the days when insurers could deny Americans health care coverage due to a pre-existing condition like cancer, arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or others,” said Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN).

“We cannot allow Washington politicians with taxpayer-funded health insurance to rip coverage away from cancer survivors,” said Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

“President Trump and Congressional Republicans are doing their best to sabotage the American health care system and Affordable Care Act. The Department of Justice’s decision not to defend the ACA in Texas vs. U.S. is another cynical step in that effort,” said Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). “Thanks to the ACA, tens of millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions are no longer discriminated against when it comes to access to affordable and quality health insurance, but this case puts that right in jeopardy and threatens to return us to the old days of coverage denials, lifetime limits on benefits, and women being charged more than men.  That’s why I’ve joined with my Democratic colleagues to demand a vote that would allow the Senate Legal Counsel to defend the ACA in the administration’s glaring and disappointing absence.”

“People across the country have made it absolutely clear they want us to work to lower health care costs and defend protections for people with pre-existing conditions—unfortunately President Trump has made it just as clear that he plans to do the exact opposite by sabotaging health care for families and making every effort to undermine the protections so many patients rely on to get the care they need,” said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). “But Democrats are continuing to step up to the plate and fight back against President Trump’s efforts to roll back health care for millions of families, and I hope Republicans will join us.”

“This administration is taking us back to the days when you or your family could be denied health coverage because of a preexisting condition like heart disease, pregnancy, or cancer,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). “Half of Michigan families include someone with a preexisting condition, and they deserve to know that health care will be there when they need it.”

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