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in a case brought by Republican attorneys general that argues ObamaCare is now unconstitutional since Congress repealed the 2010 law's individual mandate last year.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 CaseyDemocratic senators ask FDA to ban device used to shock disabled students Trump under pressure to renew last nuke treaty with Russia Celebrating and expanding upon five years of the ABLE  Act 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 McConnellErnst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Trump declares war on hardworking Americans with new budget request 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 AlexanderDemocrats worried about Trump's growing strength The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' 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 DonnellyGinsburg health scare raises prospect of election year Supreme Court battle Watchdog accuses pro-Kavanaugh group of sending illegal robotexts in 2018 Lobbying world MORE (Ind.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampSusan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA The Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same MORE (N.D.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinLawmakers push back at Trump's Pentagon funding grab for wall Overnight Health Care: Appeals court strikes down Medicaid work requirements | Pelosi's staff huddles with aides on surprise billing | Senate Dems pressure Trump to drop ObamaCare lawsuit Senate Democrats pressure Trump to drop ObamaCare lawsuit MORE (W.Va.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDemocrats criticize Medal of Freedom for Limbaugh as 'slap in the face' Kansas City, Kan., responds to Trump tweet: We root for the Chiefs, too Trump mocked for Super Bowl tweet confusing Missouri for Kansas MORE (Mo.).  

Casey, Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterDemocratic senator: 'The ultimate of ironies' for Trump to hit Romney for invoking his faith Committee on Veterans Affairs sends important message during tense Senate time Democrats cry foul over Schiff backlash MORE (Mont.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownTrump pick for Fed seat takes bipartisan fire On The Money: Deficit spikes 25 percent through January | Mnuchin declines to say why Trump pulled Treasury nominee who oversaw Roger Stone case | Lawmakers trade insults over Trump budget cuts Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law MORE (Ohio), who are also running in competitive races this year, signed on to the resolution, as did Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoDSCC endorses McGrath in race against McConnell Democrats press Trump official for answers on ObamaCare replacement plan Senators urge Fed chief to tackle shortcomings of steady economy 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.