Democrats seize on DOJ's ObamaCare decision ahead of midterms
© Greg Nash
Congressional Democrats are seizing on the Department of Justice's (DOJ) decision to not defend key parts of ObamaCare in court, signaling they think the issue could pay political dividends in November.
 
The DOJ, as part of its announcement late last week, argued the law's protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be invalidated because the individual mandate that required people have insurance or pay a penalty is now repealed.
 
Despite a flurry of North Korea news on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation MORE (D-N.Y.) started his weekly news conference with reporters by talking about health care, saying his caucus would not be "diverted." 
 
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"Democrats have not and will not lose sight of the fact that the Trump administration and the Republican Congress have systematically worked to sabotage our health-care system. ... If you ask the American people the number one issue they care about it's health care, not anything else," Schumer said.
 
Schumer said the DOJ's decision was "shameful" and Democrats will try to force health care-related votes on the Senate floor throughout the summer. 
 
"This November, Americans will go to the polls knowing that President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE and Republicans in Congress have spent two years dismantling the nation's health-care system. They'll have the opportunity to vote to move the country in a different direction," he added.
 
 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Kavanaugh accuser set to testify Thursday McConnell told Trump criticism of Kavanaugh accuser isn't helpful: report MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters on Tuesday that "everybody" in the Senate is in favor of protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions.
 
"Everybody I know in the Senate — everybody — is in favor of maintaining coverage for pre-existing conditions. There is no difference in opinion about that whatsoever," McConnell said at his weekly press conference.
 
 
Schumer fired back that Republicans should urge the Trump administration to reverse its decision not to defend key parts of the health-care law.
 
Meanwhile, David Bergstein, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement that Republicans "want to slash coverage for pre-existing conditions."
 
"Voters will hold every Republican Senate candidate accountable for spiking their costs and slashing their coverage," he added. 
 
Democrats have viewed the fight over ObamaCare during the Trump administration as a winning issue for them politically.
 
No Democratic senator voted for the GOP legislation last year that would repeal or repeal and replace the health-care law. 
 
More than 1 in 5 voters, 22 percent, say that health care is their top issue in the November midterm election, according to a NBC News–Wall Street Journal poll released earlier this month
 
 
Democratic Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinGOP plays defense on ObamaCare’s pre-existing conditions Doug Jones to McConnell: Don't 'plow right through' with Kavanaugh Cook Political Report moves Texas Senate race to ‘toss-up’ MORE (W-Va.) highlighted the issue in a tweet, saying that "an ongoing lawsuit would allow insurance companies to once again deny coverage to [West Virginians] with pre-existing conditions."
 
The original brief from GOP-led states targeting the health-care law included Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R), who is running to unseat McCaskill, and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R), who is running to unseat Manchin.