Republicans are fighting in court to take away protections for people with pre-existing conditions even as the overwhelming majority of Americans want those protections.
The Republican war on health care opened up a new front in court as Trump and the GOP try yet again to make health care prohibitively expensive for cancer survivors, pregnant women, and millions living with a pre-existing condition.
Led by Texas, 20 Republican-controlled states began their case in federal court arguing that certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are unconstitutional.
Because of the ACA, insurers are not allowed to deny coverage because of a person's medical history, nor are they allowed to charge people with a pre-existing condition more.
These provisions are wildly popular, with 3 in 4 Americans supporting them, according to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). In fact, a majority of Democrats, Republicans, and independents support them.
The support is not surprising. According to an analysis by KFF, more than 1 in 4 people could be uninsurable if these provisions were not in place.
Undeterred by the will of the people, Republicans are claiming the entire ACA, including these provisions, is unconstitutional. The party is trying to use the courts to deny health care to millions after legislative efforts to accomplish this GOP goal failed last year.
In 2017, Republicans in Congress adopted the fringe view to try to take away protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions. The House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow insurance agencies to, "charge people significantly more if they had a pre-existing condition like heart disease, cancer, diabetes or arthritis — possibly requiring people to pay thousands of dollars extra every year to remain insured," according to Politifact.
To mark the occasion of attempting to rip these protections away, Trump and Republicans gleefully celebrated in the Rose Garden. The legislative effort failed in the Senate, but Republicans are trying to find another way to accomplish the party's goal.
If Republicans are successful in their court effort to declare the ACA unconstitutional, the Urban Institute estimates 17 million people would lose health insurance.
Some Republican Senators drafted legislation they claimed would protect individuals with pre-existing conditions. But once experts examined it, the bill turned out to be a sham. According to Axios, "unlike under the ACA, insurers could exclude coverage of the services associated with pre-existing conditions."
"This bill provides [the] appearance of protecting people with preexisting conditions, but not the reality," said Larry Levitt, KFF's senior vice president.
According to the KFF survey, health care is one of the top concerns of voters this fall.
But Republicans have made their intentions about health care abundantly clear through both legislation and litigation, no matter what their constituents think.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.