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“Justice Joins The Partisans”: Editorial Boards Across the Country Hammer Republicans’ Attack on Protections for 130 Million Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions

By June 28, 2018No Comments

Earlier this month, the Trump Administration made the shocking decision to go to court to overturn protections allowing 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions to buy affordable health insurance. Following Republicans in Congress voting to repeal these protections, Trump joined a partisan lawsuit filed by 18 Republican state attorneys general and two Republican governors that would do just that. The lawsuit is wildly unpopular with the American public, with a new poll showing voters reject the move by a 2-1 margin.

Here’s what editorial boards around the country have been saying about the ongoing lawsuit, Texas v. United States:

Houston Chronicle: Texas Lawsuit To Kill Obamacare Will Claim Other Victims. “Trump’s Justice Department is supporting efforts by 20 states, including Texas, to strangle the Affordable Care Act. Killing Obamacare would keep a promise Trump made to a constituency he believes will win him a second term. The millions who will lose health coverage if Obamacare dies would be collateral damage to him… People with pre-existing conditions not only include those with epilepsy, cancer and diabetes, it could include pregnant women who didn’t already have insurance. Denying coverage to cancer patients and pregnant women or charging them exorbitant rates would be despicable… Texans have a lot to lose in this fight over health care. We need to let [Attorney General Ken Paxton] and [Senator Ted Cruz] know they are on the wrong side of a deadly proposition.” [Houston Chronicle, 6/24]

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: Obamacare Dismantling Would Hit Hoosiers Hard. “It wasn’t that long ago that people could lose their health insurance coverage or be denied the opportunity to purchase a new policy because of a pre-existing condition. The Affordable Care Act put an end to such often-devastating outcomes. Now it’s possible America could return to those bad old days. If that happens, the Indiana attorney general’s office will be among the entities responsible… If Hill and his colleagues prevail, it could take America back to the days when people with cancer, diabetes, asthma or other long-term illnesses could once again find themselves unable to obtain health insurance, at least at a price they could afford to pay. According to Kaiser, that could include at least 30 percent of our state’s non-elderly adults – 1.175 million Hoosiers.” [Journal Gazette, 6/17]

Orlando Sentinel: Florida’s Attorney General Puts Partisan Loyalty Over Health Care For 1.7 Million Floridians. “If the lawsuit prevails, Obamacare’s core guarantee — access to health insurance for Americans with pre-existing conditions — will disappear, along with other provisions in the law. This is a serious threat for Florida, where 1.7 million people enrolled in the federal health-insurance exchange last year to buy policies under the law. More than 90 percent of them received federal subsidies to lower their cost for premiums. Taking aim at the law, when there is no backup in place, is a reckless partisan act by Bondi that mocks the description of her in her official biography as ‘an advocate for Florida’s consumers’ who has ‘worked tirelessly to protect the rights and safety of Floridians.’ The lawsuit demonstrates more loyalty to her two dozen pals in the Republican Attorneys General Association than those 1.7 million Floridians.” [Orlando Sentinel, 6/20]

Akron Beacon Journal: Justice Joins The Partisans In Another Attack On The Affordable Care Act. “Polls consistently show that Republicans and Democrats agree about the need to protect the health coverage of those Americans with pre-existing conditions. For all the division over the Affordable Care Act, both sides favor its provision barring insurers from denying coverage based on a person’s health status or medical history… What Justice now has embraced is another partisan effort to weaken the Affordable Care Act, though Republicans failed to advance a workable alternative. Recall that President Trump described the protection for pre-existing conditions as one of the law’s ;strongest assets.’ Now he wants to see its demise? Recall, too, that there is bipartisan support for repairing flaws in the act, providing certainty for those with pre-existing conditions and others in need of adequate and affordable health coverage.” [Beacon Journal, 6/26]

Gainesville Sun: Fight Efforts To Sabotage Health Care. “In the upcoming federal and state elections, voters should cast their ballots like their health care depends on it. For those with preexisting conditions, that certainly is the case. The Trump administration is now arguing in court that the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that insurers cover preexisting conditions is invalid, along with other parts of the law. It is the latest move by the administration to sabotage the ACA, following the repeal of the individual mandate in last year’s tax-cut legislation. The repeal and other changes approved by the administration are driving up insurance costs, threatening the health coverage of the 1.7 million Floridians and others who have obtained coverage through the federal marketplaces… We need lawmakers that push back on the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, not facilitate them further.” [Gainesville Sun, 6/17]

Minneapolis Star Tribune: States Launch Another Harmful Attack On The Affordable Care Act. “If courts eventually buy the case’s reasoning, then it is goodbye to the ACA components that have helped a lot of people. Among them: the premium assistance subsidies, the expanded eligibility for the publicly-run Medicaid program and the provision allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26. Also gone: the protections for those who have pre-existing medical conditions, though a few states like Minnesota may still have some state-level safeguards in place. Before the ACA, insurers on the individual market — which serves people who don’t have insurance through their jobs or a public program such as Medicare — didn’t have to cover people with asthma, diabetes, cancer or myriad other conditions. Returning to an era when sick people were priced out of coverage or barred by insurers from buying it is unacceptable.”[Star Tribune, 6/13]

Scranton Times-Tribune: Pre-Existing Misfeasance. “The Trump administration imperiled access to health care for millions of Americans last week when it declined to defend in court the Affordable Care Act’s provision that health insurers may not deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions… The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 27 percent of people younger than 65 (Medicare coverage age) have a pre-existing condition that would affect their insurance access or cost. Whatever the controversies that have plagued the ACA, coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions is its most popular feature. Kaiser polling consistently has shown it to have an 70 percent approval rating among all Americans, including 59 percent of Republicans. This is another case of the administration hewing to a narrow base, even at the expense of health care for millions… Americans want coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, and Congress should ensure that they have access to it.” [Times-Tribune, 6/10]

St. Louis Post Dispatch: Health Care Issue Isn’t Dead, Though GOP Is Trying. “One of Obamacare’s most popular provisions says that the 52 million non-elderly American adults with pre-existing conditions can’t be denied coverage or charged more for it. In a 2017 Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 84 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of independents and 59 percent of Republicans favored guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions. However, the tax-cut bill enacted in December eliminated Obamacare’s penalty for failing to purchase health insurance. The end of the so-called individual mandate caused 20 Republican state attorneys general to again challenge the overall constitutionality of Obamacare’s consumer protections, including coverage of pre-existing conditions. The Justice Department chimed in to agree. A final court decision on the challenge could be years away. In the meantime, voters with pre-existing conditions might want to factor it into their decisions in November.” [Post Dispatch, 6/25]

Seattle Times: Affordable Care Act Is Worth Saving. “This month, the Justice Department announced it would stop defending the ACA’s pre-existing conditions protections in court. Insurance companies may start refusing to insure people who have already been diagnosed with cancer or diabetes, for example, and not worry about facing government legal action… [This] attack pushes the ACA further onto shaky ground — and for no good reason.” [Seattle Times, 6/18]