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GOP Senate candidates are leading the attack on pre-existing conditions

GOP Senate candidates Josh Hawley and Patrick Morrisey want to wipe out one of Obamacare’s most popular provisions.

By Matthew Chapman - June 08, 2018
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Missouri Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley

On Thursday, Trump’s Justice Department administration filed a briefing saying it refuses to fight against a frivolous lawsuit from 20 GOP states to eliminate Obamacare protections for pre-existing conditions — and that it largely agrees with it.

Republicans running for Senate this year helped get the lawsuit rolling in the first place. Missouri Senate frontrunner Josh Hawley and West Virginia Senate nominee Patrick Morrisey, who are currently attorneys general of their respective states, both signed on.

The lawsuit, which argues protection of pre-existing conditions must be eliminated because the GOP tax scam eliminated the individual mandate, could result in 52 million adults under the age of 65 becoming uninsurable.

According to the Washington Times, Morrisey even boasted that if they win the suit it might force Congress to take another crack at Obamacare repeal. “Congress may feel goaded to act, and that wouldn’t be a bad thing, given they failed the last time they tried,” he said.

But Hawley and Morrisey should think twice about leading the charge to let insurers deny sick people.

Requiring insurance companies to cover people regardless of their prior health is one of Obamacare’s most popular provisions. One poll in 2017 by the American Action Network put support as high as 92 percent. When Republicans introduced a repeal plan last summer that would have let states rescind those protections, the Kaiser Family Foundation found 70 percent of Americans opposed it.

In fact, the House GOP’s repeal plan did not have majority support in a single state — including these candidates’ own states. In West Virginia, voters opposed it by a 4 point margin. In Missouri, opposition was by an 18 point margin.

One year later, multiple polls show Obamacare as a whole is popular. And another poll released on Thursday shows voters rank health care as their top issue for the midterms.

The Democratic senators facing off against these GOP candidates, Sens. Joe Manchin in West Virginia and Claire McCaskill in Missouri, have a proud record of standing up for people with pre-existing conditions. Both have consistently voted down repeal bills to end the protections. And McCaskill, who was in the Senate at the time the protections were written, voted to pass them in the first place.

GOP Senate candidates should want no part of something as cruel, and politically toxic, as letting insurers deny sick people. But Hawley and Morrisey have picked their side — and it’s not on the side of the people they say they want to represent.


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