Dems pressure GOP to take legal action supporting pre-existing conditions

Dems pressure GOP to take legal action supporting pre-existing conditions
© Greg Nash

Senate Democrats are targeting Republicans on health care, urging them to sign on to a resolution that would allow the Senate to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the legality of ObamaCare.

The resolution, introduced Thursday, would allow the Office of Senate Legal Counsel to intervene in a case brought by Republican attorneys general that argues ObamaCare is now unconstitutional since Congress repealed the 2010 law's individual mandate last year. 

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) has decided not to defend ObamaCare, writing in a June brief that the court should overturn provisions protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions.

That move angered both Democrats and Republicans, though Democrats argue the Senate can do something about it.

"This is a test of the Republican Party, whether or not they're going to do the right thing when it comes to protecting people with pre-existing conditions," said Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick Casey21 senators urge Pentagon against military use to curb nationwide protests Overnight Health Care: Trump says US 'terminating' relationship with WHO | Cuomo: NYC on track to start reopening week of June 8 | COVID-19 workplace complaints surge 10 things to know today about coronavirus MORE (D-Pa.) at a press conference Thursday. "I would hope my Republican friends who have said over and over again ... they agree with the protections for people with pre-existing protections." 

After the DOJ announced its decision not to defend ObamaCare, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Energy: US Park Police say 'tear gas' statements were 'mistake' | Trump to reopen area off New England coast for fishing | Vulnerable Republicans embrace green issues The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump juggles three crises ahead of November election Vulnerable Republicans embrace green issues in battle to save seats MORE (R-Ky.) said "everybody" in the Senate "is in favor of maintaining coverage for pre-existing conditions." 

Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderMurkowski, Mattis criticism ratchets up pressure on GOP over Trump China stalled reporting genetic information about COVID-19, angering WHO: report Senate GOP chairman criticizes Trump withdrawal from WHO MORE (R-Tenn.) at the time called the DOJ's decision and argument "as far-fetched as any I've ever heard."

Still, it's unlikely Republicans would sign on to the resolution, which is led in large part by vulnerable Senate Democrats up for reelection in November, including Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEx-Sen. Joe Donnelly endorses Biden Lobbying world 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents MORE (Ind.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn Heitkamp70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Susan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA MORE (N.D.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight Stakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December MORE (W.Va.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMissouri county issues travel advisory for Lake of the Ozarks after Memorial Day parties Senate faces protracted floor fight over judges amid pandemic safety concerns Amash on eyeing presidential bid: 'Millions of Americans' want someone other than Trump, Biden MORE (Mo.).  

Casey, Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSenate confirms Trump's watchdog for coronavirus funds Montana barrels toward blockbuster Senate fight The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip MORE (Mont.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownDemocratic senators say police crackdowns undermine US response to Hong Kong Democratic senators kneel during moment of silence for George Floyd 21 senators urge Pentagon against military use to curb nationwide protests MORE (Ohio), who are also running in competitive races this year, signed on to the resolution, as did Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoThe Hill's Campaign Report: Minneapolis protests rock the nation Cortez Masto says she's not interested in being Biden VP The Memo: Activists press Biden on VP choice MORE (Nev.), who isn't up for reelection until 2022.

Sixteen Democratic attorneys general won the right to intervene in the case in May and have been defending ObamaCare in court.