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in a case brought by Republican attorneys general that argues ObamaCare is now unconstitutional since Congress repealed the 2010 law’s individual mandate last year. 

{mosads}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 Casey (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 McConnell (R-Ky.) said “everybody” in the Senate “is in favor of maintaining coverage for pre-existing conditions.” 

Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (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 Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.).  

Casey, Jon Tester (Mont.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio), who are also running in competitive races this year, signed on to the resolution, as did Catherine Cortez Masto (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.

Tags Bob Casey Catherine Cortez Masto Claire McCaskill Heidi Heitkamp Joe Donnelly Joe Manchin Jon Tester Lamar Alexander Mitch McConnell Sherrod Brown
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