MO-Sen: HuffPost, “GOP Candidates Are Scrambling To Rewrite Their Record On Pre-Existing Conditions”

The Huffington Post is filled with must read 2018 election pieces today:

Josh Hawley, the Republican Senate candidate in Missouri, says he is all about making sure anybody can get health insurance, regardless of their medical status: “We need to cover pre-existing conditions,” he said earlier this summer.

But Hawley, who is currently Missouri’s attorney general, is one of the 20 state officials who has signed onto a new lawsuit seeking to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s guarantee of coverage, which they argue is unconstitutional. Hawley is also a longtime supporter of Congress repealing the law outright.

“It’s simple: Obamacare must go,” he told supporters last year.

Hawley would have Missourians believe there is nothing contradictory in his rhetoric and action ― he simply wants to get rid of “Obamacare,” not the law’s promise of insurance for anybody regardless of pre-existing conditions.

In reality, Hawley and other Republicans have no concrete or well-developed plan for replacing the law with something that would provide the same kind of access. If either the lawsuit he supports or repeal legislation were successful, people with cancer, diabetes and a variety of other chronic conditions would have a much tougher time getting comprehensive coverage. The GOP, including Hawley, is now talking up a Senate bill experts have said wouldn’t solve the problem.

Hawley is hardly the only Republican Senate candidate making statements so inconsistent with his record.

Mike Braun in Indiana, Martha McSally in Arizona, Patrick Morrisey in West Virginia, Rick Scott in Florida ― the list goes on. All across the country, Republicans running for Congress are promising voters they will look out for people with pre-existing conditions while supporting some combination of legislation, litigation and regulation that would undermine those very protections.

The piece also mentions U.S. Senator and State Auditor Matt Rosendale (R. MT) facing this same problem. Democrats running in the Red States have a winning issue and they need to keep hammering their opponents. Luckily, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D. WI) has been taking the lead in combating Trump and the GOP on protecting pre-existing conditions:

Senate Democrats are preparing a long-shot procedural maneuver to reverse new Trump administration regulations that they say would sabotage the Affordable Care Act by expanding “junk” insurance that isn’t obligated to cover preexisting conditions.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) is leading the effort, introducing a resolution to unwind the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term insurance plans. Those plans are not subject to Obamacare’s rules for preexisting conditions or essential health benefits and Democrats dismiss them as “junk.”

“It is sabotage, in my mind, against the guarantees for preexisting conditions,” Baldwin told me and other reporters on Tuesday. “These policies aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.”

Baldwin is doing so under the purview of the Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress the ability to reverse federal regulations within a certain time window. The odds of Baldwin’s resolution bearing fruit are long: The House would have to pass the same resolution, and President Donald Trump would have to sign a measure unwinding his own administration’s agenda or there would need to be a veto-proof majority.

But the Senate Democratic offensive also gives the minority an opening to keep health care and preexisting conditions — Democrats’ core themes in the 2018 midterms — as live issues ahead of November.

Baldwin, who has had a preexisting condition since she was 9 and is facing a serious reelection fight of her own against Republican Leah Vukmir, says she has the 30 senators needed to force a vote under the Senate’s discharge petition rules. She is eyeing “some time in October,” she said, though there is no firm schedule.

Importantly, 30 Democratic senators are already co-sponsoring the resolution, including several others running in 2018’s critical Senate races: Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Bill Nelson of Florida, and Jon Tester of Montana.

Then, if Democrats do get the vote, they will need at least one Republican to join them and reach a majority to pass the resolution. It has happened before: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) voted with Democrats to overturn a new rule on net neutrality. Baldwin said she had spoken with Collins and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) in the last week and hopes to talk soon with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), another moderate who voted against Obamacare repeal and has been mindful of preexisting conditions.

Baldwin must know she faces an uphill climb, but she’s pressing on, hoping to hold Republicans accountable for the promises they’ve made to voters to protect preexisting conditions — promises Democrats believe have been undermined by the Trump regulations.

“I don’t think they’ve forgotten those conversations,” she told reporters.

Click below to donate and get involved with U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D. MO) and her colleagues’ re-election campaigns:

Claire McCaskill (D. MO)

Tammy Baldwin (D. WI)

Joe Donnelly (D. IN)

Kyrsten Sinema (D. AZ)

Joe Manchin (D. WV)

Bill Nelson (D. FL)

Jon Tester (D. MT)