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PALLONE JOINS HOUSE RESOLUTION TO DEFEND CONSTITUTIONALITY OF PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS PROTECTIONS

July 26, 2018
Press Release
Resolution is co-sponsored by top House Democratic leaders, including Ranking Members of all committees of jurisdiction

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (NV-03) introduced a resolution that would authorize the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives to intervene in a pending federal lawsuit on behalf of the House to defend the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-06), the Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees healthcare, cosponsored the bill.

In June, the Trump Administration’s Justice Department effectively announced it will no longer defend key parts of the ACA that prevent insurance companies from charging more to cover pre-existing conditions or denying coverage altogether. According to the Center for American Progress, approximately 1.2 million Nevadans have a pre-existing medical condition. Last week, Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced a similar Senate resolution authorizing the Senate Legal Counsel to intervene in Texas vs. United States.

“I’m fighting back against this latest assault on our health care system in federal court and stepping up to ensure we defend coverage protections for my constituents and hardworking Americans across the country who have a pre-existing medical condition,” said Rosen. “Refusing to defend the existing law could take us back to the days when insurance companies could discriminate against people for everything from battling cancer to being pregnant. I refuse to sit on the sidelines while this Administration declines to defend these life-saving protections, and I hope members of Congress on both sides of the aisle will support this resolution. No issue is more personal or more important than protecting our health care, and I’ll continue to work with my colleagues against any effort to roll back access to affordable health care for Nevadans.”

“The Trump administration’s cynical attempt to subvert the law and eliminate pre-existing condition protections for 130 million Americans is an attack on the American health care system. Democrats won’t stand idly by while President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress seek to increase costs, drive up uninsured rates, and deny coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions, ” said Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., Ranking Member on the Energy and Commerce Committee. “I commend Rep. Rosen for her strong leadership in the fight to protect access to affordable health care for all Americans.”

“Just like Republicans in Congress, the Trump Administration has turned its back on the 130 million Americans who have pre-existing medical conditions,” said Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA), Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee. “The Justice Department’s exceptional refusal to defend existing law demands exceptional action from the legislative branch – that’s why I’ve signed my name to this resolution. Families across the nation will gravely suffer if we return to the days when insurance companies could discriminate against or deny coverage altogether from people for having conditions like diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, and cancer – or simply for being a woman. We must ensure these critical protections remain in place to help Americans retain their access to care and avoid financial ruin.”

“The Trump Administration’s refusal to defend key protections in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not only a threat to what has been the law of the land for over 8 years, it represents the abandonment of a longstanding, bipartisan commitment by the Department of Justice to defend duly enacted federal laws in federal court,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee.  “The Department of Justice has an obligation to defend the ACA and the vital protections it provides to the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. In failing to defend these provisions, the Trump Administration is trying—yet again—to sabotage the ACA at the expense of consumers across the nation.  The Constitution requires the Executive Branch to “take care that the laws are faithfully executed.” Congress makes the laws and the Executive Branch enforces them, and there is no excuse or legal justification for refusing to defend a federal statute.”

“The Trump administration’s attack on protections for patients with pre-existing conditions could strip access to affordable health care from millions of Americans,” said Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), Ranking Member of the House Education and Workforce Committee. “Members of Congress have a responsibility to defend our constituents from the administration’s repeated attempts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. This case is no exception.”

“Republicans’ voted to destroy protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions in their Trumpcare bill, and now they’re suing to destroy these life-saving protections in the courts,” said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.  “Republicans want to drag us back to the dark days of insurance companies discriminating against people with asthma, diabetes, cancer, or heart conditions, where innocent children will be condemned to life without affordable health coverage because of illnesses or injuries they did nothing to deserve.  Democrats are proud to stand with the American people to fight these bitter GOP attacks on families’ health, financial security and futures.”

“By declining to defend the Affordable Care Act in court, the Trump Administration is doubling-down on its efforts to sabotage the law and dismantle its consumer protections and cost-savings,” said Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer. “ I’m proud to join Rep. Rosen in introducing this resolution that would enable the House of Representatives to defend the law instead.  Since coming to Congress, Rep. Rosen has been a champion for affordable, quality health coverage in Nevada and across the country, and her resolution aims to combat the Trump Administration’s continued undermining of the nation’s health care system.”