Top Dems press Trump officials for answers on pre-existing conditions

Four incoming House Democratic chairmen on Friday pressed the Trump administration for answers about its decision to call for overturning ObamaCare’s pre-existing condition protections in court.

“In declining to defend these provisions, the Trump Administration is seeking to invalidate these critical patient protections, and once again subject millions of Americans with preexisting conditions to the discrimination they faced before the ACA,” the Democrats wrote in a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma.

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The four Democrats, Reps. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneBooker takes early lead in 2020 endorsements Hillicon Valley: EU hits Google with .7 billion antitrust fine | GOP steps up attack over tech bias claims | Dems ask FTC for budget wishlist | Justices punt on Google privacy settlement Dems ask FTC if it needs more money to protect privacy MORE (N.J.), Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOn The Money: Liberal groups pressure Dems over Trump's tax returns | Top Trump economist says tax cuts powering economy | Trump Jr. slams Theresa May over Brexit delay | Watchdog warns of 'rosy' assumptions in Trump budget Liberal groups step up pressure on Dems to request Trump's tax returns The retirement crisis is real MORE (Mass.), Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottTop Dems blast administration's proposed ObamaCare changes Virginia congressional delegation says it's 'devastated by’ Richmond Turmoil The Hill's 12:30 Report: AOC unveils Green New Deal measure | Trump hits Virginia Dems | Dems begin hearings to get Trump tax returns MORE (Va.) and Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) previously wrote to Azar in June, after the administration declined to defend the Affordable Care Act’s pre-existing condition protections in a lawsuit brought by 20 GOP-led states.

The Democrats say they never received a substantive response and are now pressing for answers again.

A letter from Verma, in response to the original request, declines to answer questions given that the lawsuit is ongoing.

Democrats made the threat from this lawsuit to popular pre-existing condition protections a key part of their argument in the campaign this year. Now, they are keeping up the pressure, and plan to have the House formally intervene in court to defend the law once Democrats assume control of the chamber in January.

The four Democrats will also have more power to press for answers once they become chairmen next month.

They are seeking documents such as any analysis the administration performed on the effects of eliminating pre-existing condition protections, as well as answers to how the administration plans to handle the upheaval from striking down those provisions.  

“There is no legal basis to withhold information from Congress on the basis of the pendency of an ongoing lawsuit,” the Democrats wrote in Friday’s letter.