Schumer: Judge vote will test GOP’s commitment to protecting pre-existing conditions

Schumer: Judge vote will test GOP’s commitment to protecting pre-existing conditions
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) warned Republicans on Friday that voting for Chad Readler, President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE’s nominee to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, is a vote against protecting with people with pre-existing conditions. 

Readler, who served until September as assistant attorney general for the civil division at the Department of Justice, filed a brief last year supporting a lawsuit filed by Texas and other states seeking to strike down the Affordable Care Act.

“As Mr. Readler is the author of the Trump administration’s decision to side with Republican attorneys general suing to repeal our health care law, Senate Democrats are united in opposing his nomination and we urge Republicans who claim to support protections for pre-existing conditions to join us in voting to reject him, as well,” Schumer said in a statement.  

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“Any Republican Senator who supports his nomination is supporting the Trump-Republican lawsuit to get rid of pre-existing condition protections and take away health coverage from millions of Americans,” he added. 

Readler is one of three appellate court nominees set to receive a Senate vote next week. 

Schumer said the vote will force every Republican “to show their constituents and the American people whether or not they stand for pre-existing condition protections.”

Readler argued in his June brief that the Affordable Care Act’s mandate on individuals to have health insurance was unconstitutional and as a result its guaranteed-issue and community-rating provisions — which ensure that people with pre-existing conditions have access to affordable insurance — must also be struck down. 

Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (R-Tenn.) said at the time that Readler’s argument was “as far-fetched as any I’ve ever heard.”

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“There’s no way Congress is going to repeal protections for people with pre-existing conditions who want to buy health insurance. The Justice Department argument in the Texas case is as far-fetched as any I’ve ever heard," he said in June. 

Republicans control 53 Senate seats, and Vice President Pence would cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of the nominee in case of a 50-50 tie. 

All Democrats are expected to vote against Readler.