TX-Sen: Cornyn (R), “Getting rid of health care for preexisting conditions is not that big a deal”

From Emily Singer at The American Independent:

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said Thursday that preexisting health conditions are not as big a deal as Democrats are making them seem, using one of the most popular provisions in the Affordable Care Act to attack Democrats.

“The left, including Joe Biden in Tuesday's debate, overstates the problem of pre-existing conditions to justify political control of health care,” Cornyn tweeted.

Cornyn was paraphrasing a line from an editorial written by the conservative editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, which claimed that the number of people with preexisting conditions who gained access to health insurance coverage thanks to Obamacare is a “mere” 3.5 million.

Here’s the Tweet:

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Cornyn recently mad an ass of himself again on this issue:

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— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) September 28, 2020

On Friday, The Texas Tribune reported that one of the many “high stakes” issues presented by the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was that if a Texas Republican-led lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act were to succeed at the highest court's level, at least 1 million Texans would lose their subsidized health care. The problem would be doubly compounded by the fact that after decades of sitting on their hands, Republicans in Texas and abroad have yet to come up with anything that might possibly replace it. Cornyn decided to chime in with his deepest thought of the day, tweeting: “This is pure scare tactics. Why?” Is the story a scare tactic? Does he not understand why 1 million people would lose their insurance? It's hard to say, but Cornyn isn't a man for thinking, or doing good things for people. But Twitter saw these 33 characters of idiocracy and responded with one of the largest ratios we've seen in quite some time.

Some more context here:

The lawsuit hinges on an argument that the law’s original requirement for most Americans to have health insurance is no longer valid — and that because the mandate to purchase insurance is such a core component of the sweeping law, the entire Affordable Care Act falls without it.

“Congress didn’t pass the ACA to require calorie counts be printed on restaurant menus,” said Robert Henneke, general counsel for the conservative think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation, which represents individual plaintiffs on Texas’ side of the case. “Congress passed the ACA to do the individual mandate.”

Texas argues that after Congress in 2017 set the Affordable Care Act’s penalty for not complying with the individual mandate at $0, the provision is no longer constitutional. The mandate was challenged in earlier lawsuits, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it constitutional as an exercise of Congress’ taxing power. (Ginsburg and three other Democrat-appointed justices joined Chief Justice John Roberts in that 5-4 ruling.)

Since the penalty is now set at zero, Texas and its allies argue, it can no longer be considered a tax.

Henneke said he has always been confident the court will strike down the law as unconstitutional and that Ginsburg’s death does not change that prediction.

A coalition of states led by California, as well as a slew of legal experts all over the ideological map, dispute almost every facet of Texas’ argument. They say the individual mandate remains constitutional, but also that even if it were not, the rest of the Affordable Care Act would still stand.

The lawsuit turns on that question of “severability,” experts agree.

Most provisions of the Affordable Care Act have survived despite numerous legal challenges, but Ginsburg’s death means the loss of one of the law’s staunchest defenders on the high court. She voted in 2012 to uphold the law in NFIB v. Sebelius, which challenged the individual mandate, and again in 2015 in King v. Burwell, which challenged the federal government’s ability to subsidize health insurance plans.

Chuck Schumer even gave vulnerable Republicans a chance to save their asses:

Republicans on Thursday shot down a bill that would have blocked the Justice Department from advocating in favor of nixing the Affordable Care Act, as Democrats try to squeeze GOP senators amid an explosive Supreme Court fight.

Senators voted 51-43, falling short of the 60 votes needed to advance the bill, after Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) caught GOP leaders by surprise when he set up the vote, effectively winning temporary control of the floor.

Democrats are stepping up their procedural tactics against Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination, and they view health care as one of their best arguments against President Trump's pick.

The bill would prevent the Justice Department from arguing in court to strike down the ACA. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case that could determine the future of the landmark health care law a week after the election.

Here are the vulnerable Republicans who voted for it:

Sens. Martha McSally of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Dan Sullivan of Alaska, who are trying to reassure voters about their defense of insurance protections for preexisting conditions, backed the Democrats' measure. Another Republican, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who opposed Obamacare repeal efforts three years ago, also supported the bill.

Here are the vulnerable Republicans who voted against it:

Other GOP senators who are considered at-risk, including John Cornyn (Texas), Steve Daines (Mont.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Mike Lee (Utah), Kelly Loeffler (Ga.), David Perdue (Ga.) and Thom Tillis (N.C.), voted with their party and against the measure.

MJ Hegar (D. TX) wasted no time slamming Cornyn on this:

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— MJ Hegar (@mjhegar) October 1, 2020

By the way, here’s Cornyn’s letter defending his hypocrisy on the Supreme Court:

Regarding “Letters,” (A20, Sept. 23): Following the revered Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, some have tried to compare this vacancy to 2016. But the facts are different. Then President Obama was in the last year of his last term, and the Senate was controlled by the opposite party. No Senate had confirmed a Supreme Court Justice under those circumstances since 1888.

This year, the White House and Senate are led by the same party and the President is seeking re-election. More than two dozen Justices have been nominated and confirmed under similar circumstances.

Not only did Americans elect a Republican majority in 2014 and 2016, but Americans expanded that majority in 2018 because Republicans pledged to support Pres. Trump’s judicial appointments.

The Senate will uphold its constitutional duty and vote on a Supreme Court nominee this year. We will not rush the process; we will thoroughly vet the nominee and only then vote as the Constitution requires.

Sen. John Cornyn, Austin

And here’s Cornyn’s lame defense on this:

Texas Sen. John Cornyn on Friday defended President Donald Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, hours after the president and First Lady Melania Trump announced that they had tested positive for the virus.

“The response was not perfect, but it was certainly dramatic,” the Republican said, taking measure of the administration’s efforts over the last several months in a virtual meeting with The Dallas Morning News' editorial board.

Cornyn noted, for instance, that Trump early on cut off international flights from China as a “public health measure,” only to be called a “racist and xenophobic.” Moreover, the senator said, the “virus doesn’t play by our rules,” sometimes surprising even the experts.

By the way, Coronavirus Cornyn is now starting to worry about facing the voters without passing COVID-19 relief funding:

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), facing challenger MJ Hegar this fall, said what worries him most is that a vaccine “will be delayed because of the lack of funds because of no deal.”

Here’s what House Democrats passed:

Here are the provisions in the revised HEROES Act that could matter most to your wallet:

  • Reinstating a $600 weekly unemployment benefits boost until January 2021
  • Sending another round of $1,200 direct payments to middle- and low-income Americans and an extra $500 for dependents
  • Another round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans
  • $436 billion in emergency aid to state and local governments
  • $225 billion in relief for childcare and schools
  • $120 billion in aid for restaurants
  • $25 billion in support for passenger airlines and employees, plus $3 billion for contractors to help the industry avoid more layoffs

But Moscow Mitch won’t rescue Cornyn:

But since McConnell isn’t in the room, it does leave his position on the ongoing talks something of a mystery. Republicans following the talks have described them as theatrics that seem destined to fail, leaving little role for McConnell at the moment.

A close McConnell ally, Cornyn, said the majority leader “understands that the deal has to be struck between the White House and Speaker Pelosi.” Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who faces an exceedingly difficult reelection campaign, said “there’s a lot of discussion going on behind the scenes.”

But without McConnell playing a central role, Democrats’ have launched a messaging campaign portraying him as eager to fill a Supreme Court seat and reluctant to spend more money on the worst pandemic in a century.

Texas Republicans are getting very scared about losing Texas that they are back to their old tricks to make it harder for people to vote. Like this:

After another court ruling, Texans will need to be prepared to vote in individual races this election rather than the old method many voters are used to where they could vote a straight-party ticket with one click.

November’s elections are too close for Texas to make changes now and restore a straight-ticket voting option that was sought by Democrats, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Texas offered the options for decades, but Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law in 2017 that eliminated the option starting this fall.

A little more info:

The opinion, which was not signed, came from a panel of three appointees of George W. Bush: U.S. Circuit Judges Edith Clement, Catharina Haynes and Jennifer Walker Elrod. The court had already paused the lower court’s ruling with a brief administrative stay, but Wednesday’s eight-page decision is a firmer word on the matter.

Texas Democrats fiercely opposed ending one-punch voting when it was considered years ago at the Capitol, and it passed largely on party lines. Straight-ticket voting is a popular option among voters of both parties; in 2018, two-thirds of Texas voters used that option. But Democrats fear the loss of the one-punch option will be felt most heavily among their voters, particularly voters of color in large urban counties, where the ballots can stretch on with dozens of local judicial races.

Democratic groups, as well as the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans, had fought to keep the one-punch option in place for this election, arguing it would speed up lines at polling places, meaning voters would spend less time risking exposure to the coronavirus. They also argued eliminating it would disproportionately affect voters of color and lead to voter drop-off — when voters do not complete their full ballots — especially in the state’s big cities, Democratic strongholds where ballots can stretch on and on.

And of course there’s this bull shit:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, ordered counties to stop accepting hand-delivered absentee ballots at more than one location, issuing a proclamation that could make it harder for residents to vote early.

The proclamation, which goes into effect Friday, modifies part of Abbott's July 27 order that added six days of early absentee voting in the state in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Fellow Republicans in Texas are challenging the additional early voting days in court.

After concerns were raised about the reliability of the U.S. Postal Service, voters have increasingly indicated a desire to use drop-off sites to ensure that votes are counted while avoiding the possible crowds on Election Day.

Joe Biden’s campaign knows that the Laredo region is where they need to boost turnout big time in order to flip Texas Blue:

The Biden campaign knows the numbers well. They and the Texas Democratic Party have hired staff from the border, invested more in getting out the vote and are promising to reach out to more voters than in past elections. Even actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is aware of the issue, this week announcing his foundation is sending $250,000 to Cameron County for an early voting center to help 25,000 people vote safely.

“We’re specifically focusing on South Texas and border communities,” said Rebecca Acuña, Biden’s state director.

Acuña, herself a Laredo native, said the Biden campaign is reaching out to voters over multiple platforms in both English and Spanish to boost the area’s Democratic turnout.

But it is not happening in a vacuum. While the Democrats try to drive up their turnout, Republicans are rattling their cages. Just two weeks ago as many as 7,000 trucks, cars and motorcycles decked out with Trump gear honked and screeched tires for miles through the streets of Laredo in a message to Democrats that they have a fight on their hands this year.

Something else you should know:

It would be hard to find a region with more at stake in the presidential election than the five counties along the border between Brownsville and Laredo. Immigration, the impact of COVID-19, and health care — the three most dominant issues in the presidential election — hit this region harder than most.

While the five counties represent just over 5 percent of the state population, they have recorded nearly 20 percent of Texas deaths from COVID-19. So far, 2,847 deaths have been attributed directly to COVID-19 in the five counties with a combined 1.6 million residents. That is more deaths than Harris County, which has triple the population.

And while Texas has the highest rate of uninsured residents in the nation, it is even worse on the border. Before the pandemic hit, U.S. Census data indicated about 20 percent of people under 65 in the state were uninsured as of 2018. But in the five border counties, the average uninsured rate for those under 65 was 30 percent.

Former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, who campaigned along the border during his presidential bid, said both of those issues are motivating voters in the Valley this year.

“So many families there can see just how much they have been short-changed by the Trump administration and by Republican leadership,” Castro said.

Early voting starts on October 13th. Don’t let this bull shit discourage you. GoodNewsRoundUp provided information about how to fight back. Democracy Docket is already getting ready for a big legal battle to ensure everyone’s vote is counted. Click here to get involved with their efforts.

You have until October 5th to still register to vote in Texas.

Click here to register to vote.

Click here to sign up to be a poll worker.

Let’s keep up the momentum to flip Texas Blue.

Click below to donate and get involved with Hegar, Biden and their fellow Texas Democrats campaigns:

MJ Hegar

Joe Biden

Blue Texas PAC

Texas Democratic Party

Texas House Democratic Democratic Campaign Committee

Lulu Seikaly

Mike Siegel

Sima Ladjevardian

Wendy Davis

Sri Preston Kulkarni

Gina Ortiz Jones

Candace Valenzuela