January 15, 2019

Manchin, Rosen, Casey, Schumer, Murray, and Wyden Reintroduce Resolution To Defend Constitutionality of Pre-Existing Condition Protections

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) reintroduced a Senate resolution that would authorize Senate Legal Counsel to defend Americans with pre-existing conditions against the Republican Attorneys General lawsuit that would put millions of Americans at risk of losing their health insurance.

“Today, I joined my colleagues in reintroducing this resolution so that the Senate has the opportunity to defend Americans and West Virginians with pre-existing conditions in this inhumane lawsuit. This misguided ruling will put millions of Americans and tens of thousands of West Virginians at risk of losing their health insurance. And the thousands of West Virginians who gained health insurance through the Medicaid expansion will no longer qualify. This ruling is just plain wrong. This ruling is yet another example of why the Senate must come together to pass bipartisan legislation that makes commonsense fixes to our current system. Protecting West Virginians’ healthcare has always been my top priority and I will continue to fight for every West Virginian’s access to quality, affordable health insurance,” Senator Manchin said. 

“I’m proud to join Senator Manchin in introducing the same resolution I championed in the House,” said Senator Rosen. “Without these critical protections, we risk going back to the days when big insurance companies could deny insurance coverage based on a pre-existing condition. We cannot let the Trump Administration move to dismantle our health care system. I know just how important this issue is for Nevada’s hardworking families and I’m prepared to keep fighting to protect their health care.”

“Given the recent ruling in the Texas vs. United States case, it is critically important that the Senate adopt this resolution to intervene in the case to save the Affordable Care Act,” said Senator Casey. “It’s time to move forward and work on ways to improve the Affordable Care Act, rather than undermining its protections. I will continue to fight every day to ensure that every American, no matter where they live or what their health status is, has access to the health care they need.”

“The recent district court decision in Texas to strike down protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions was bizarre and dreadful, and if the ruling is ultimately upheld it would spell disaster for hundreds of millions of Americans and throw our health care system into utter chaos” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. “Since the Trump administration has shamefully refused to defend the healthcare law in court, it is incumbent on us Democrats to act accordingly. Senator Manchin’s resolution is the right prescription. Many of my Republican friends just campaigned on promising to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions. Now is the time for them to put their money where their mouth is.” 

“This is about patients and families, and right now, for what feels like the millionth time, people are worried. Young adults coming out of college don’t know for sure whether they’ll be able to stay on their parents’ plans. Tens of millions of people with pre-existing conditions are frightened they’ll once again be priced out of coverage or denied altogether. Women are wondering whether they’ll have to budget extra for birth control on top of the rest of their insurance. Families who already struggle to afford their premiums are worried Republican health care chaos will lead to more hikes. All of that is at stake in this blatantly partisan lawsuit. If Republicans truly meant what they said during the campaign season about how they care about protections for pre-existing conditions and helping families afford coverage, now is the time to show it by joining Democrats in taking action to stand up for the health care protections people across this country rely on,” Senator Murray said.

“This decision represents nothing less than an attempt to shred the social safety net that Americans count on as a guarantee today. Medicare Part D benefits and preventative health care for seniors, significant parts of Medicaid, pre-existing condition protections – all of these benefits that retired Americans and vulnerable families count on will be unceremoniously kicked to the curb. Republicans in Congress claim to support pre-existing conditions, and this resolution gives them a chance to go on the record. Mitch McConnell should put it to a vote,” Senator Wyden said.

The lawsuit, Texas vs. United States, is challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, including the law’s consumer protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Instead of defending the law and these vital health care protections, the Department of Justice effectively announced it will not defend the existing law.  

In December, a Texas judge declared the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unconstitutional. If the decision stands, 20 million Americans will be left without the health insurance they rely on. The 133 million Americans and 800,000 West Virginians with a pre-existing condition will be at risk of losing their access to health insurance and millions of families across the country will see healthcare costs rise. If it is allowed to stand, the human costs of this decision will be profound. 

The resolution is cosponsored by Jon Tester (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Mark Warner (D-VA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Angus King (I-ME), Ed Markey (D-MA), Pat Leahy (D-VT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Doug Jones (D-AL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Gary Peters (D-MI), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Carper (D-DE) and Ben Cardin (D-MD).

Read the full resolution here.