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Vulnerable Incumbents Cast Stunt Vote In Desperate Attempt to Cover Up Records Attacking Protections for Pre-Existing Conditions Coverage

Senate Republicans Allow Justice Department to Continue Backing Republican-Led Lawsuit to Tear Down the Affordable Care Act and Health Care Protections Americans Rely On

In a clear sign that their toxic health care records are dragging down their embattled re-election campaigns, vulnerable Senators Susan Collins, Joni Ernst, Cory Gardner, Martha McSally and Dan Sullivan cast a stunt vote in a desperate attempt to cover up their attacks on the Affordable Care Act and protections for pre-existing conditions coverage. Mitch McConnell and the rest of his GOP caucus that did not get an election-year pass voted to allow the anti-health care lawsuit that will dismantle protections for pre-existing conditions coverage that 54 million Americans rely on to move forward – even as the law remains more popular than ever.

“Senate Republicans are lying to their constituents when they claim they’ll protect pre-existing conditions coverage – not only have they voted to repeal those protections, they also put this lawsuit in motion,” said DSCC spokesperson Helen Kalla. “Independent fact-checkers have called out GOP Senators for absurdly false and misleading campaign ads, reminding voters that they have put the health care law and guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions at risk, and have no plan to replace those protections. This vote exposes their toxic records.”

The vote today allows the Department of Justice to intervene in the lawsuit – which Republicans are pushing even during the middle of a pandemic that has left millions of Americans unemployed and newly uninsured – that would kick an estimated 20 million Americans off their health insurance, end Medicaid expansion for at least 12 million people, and cut other health care benefits while giving the richest 0.1% a massive tax windfall.

Meanwhile, Senators Collins, Ernst, Gardner, McSally, and Sullivan were again exposed for voting to eliminate and jeopardize popular protections for pre-existing conditions and other health care benefits: 

  • Senator Cory Gardner (CO) infamously dodged six questions in a row from a Colorado reporter about the lawsuit, and he even criticized Democrats for supporting the ACA while endorsing the GOP’s argument that it is “an unconstitutional law.”
  • Senator Susan Collins (ME) helped pass the reckless GOP tax plan that laid the foundation for her party’s dangerous lawsuit and even said she “would support it again today” — Collins also cast the deciding vote last year in a key Senate committee to block a study on the impact of the GOP’s lawsuit.

Yesterday, Senate Republicans attempted to inoculate themselves from their damning vote today by holding a show vote on another one of their sham bills that claims to protect people with pre-existing conditions but “contains huge loopholes that undermine that promise.” Vulnerable Republicans know they are “trapped on pre-existing conditions” after voting repeatedly to gut coverage protections, which is why they’re trying to “obscure their position” with ads that have been fact-checked as false and misleading. Health care remains a massive “political liability” for Republicans that “could help determine control of the Senate.”

Coverage protections for people with pre-existing conditions and other health care benefits are “in greater danger than ever” as Senate Republicans rush to fill the Supreme Court vacancy before the election with a nominee who is hostile to the ACA. Oral arguments in the Republican lawsuit are scheduled for November 10, just one week after Election Day.

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