GOP senator blasts DOJ's assault on people with pre-existing conditions


A Republican finally joined Democrats in speaking out against Trump's latest attack on Obamacare.

Trump's Justice Department has sided with a lawsuit that seeks to rip away protections for people with serious medical conditions, but one Republican senator has found the courage to speak up about it.

Twenty states, led by Texas, have filed suit to have the entire Affordable Care Act invalidated because Congress repealed Obamacare's individual mandate. Trump's Justice Department filed a brief saying the provisions that protect people with pre-existing conditions are invalid because they are "inseverable" from the individual mandate, and so the DOJ won't defend those provisions.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a statement Tuesday night that took aim at the DOJ's refusal to defend patient protections in the Affordable Care Act.

"The Justice Department argument in the Texas case is as far-fetched as any I’ve ever heard," Alexander said. "Congress specifically repealed the individual mandate penalty, but I didn’t hear a single senator say that they also thought they were repealing protections for people with pre-existing conditions."

Alexander's comments came hours after a HELP Committee hearing at which many Democrats on the committee spoke forcefully in defense of the pre-existing conditions protections, while Republicans were silent on the matter.

If the lawsuit is successful, though, insurance companies could deny Americans with pre-existing conditions altogether, regardless of whether they're eligible for subsidies.

Lamar Alexander is no hero. Like almost every other Republican, he voted for Trump's failed attempts to repeal Obamacare.

But Alexander will be 80 years old when his term ends and has said he is undecided about seeking reelection. As a few other Republicans have demonstrated — like fellow Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker — it is much easier to be brave when you don't have to face Trump's rabid base.

There are many more Republicans who are willing to stand quietly than speak up. But health care is the most important issue to voters going into the midterms, which means they'll either have to stand up to Trump or become better liars.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.