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GOP Health Care Lawsuit Puts Senate Republicans “In a Weird Spot” as They Desperately Scramble to Distance Themselves

As the Trump Administration doubled down last week on the GOP attack on health care with a new brief supporting a dangerous federal lawsuit that would kill the Affordable Care Act and end protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Senate Republicans were put “in a weird spot.” Every Republican senator voted for the reckless 2017 tax law that sparked this lawsuit, and many previously endorsed the legal theory behind the lawsuit in a 2012 Supreme Court case attacking the health care law.

How badly do vulnerable Senate Republicans want to run away from this topic? Colorado Senator Cory Gardner declined to comment on the lawsuit last week and told a reporter on Capitol Hill, “Call the office.” So the reporter followed up… and Gardner’s office “did not respond to a follow-up inquiry.”

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Stewart Boss issued the following statement:

“Senate Republicans can’t hide from the political consequences of their unpopular tax law, their inaction against this dangerous health care lawsuit, and their own toxic voting records against protections for pre-existing conditions.”

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The Hill: GOP distances itself from Trump’s ObamaCare attacks

By Peter Sullivan
May 3, 2019

Key Points:

  • Congressional Republicans don’t want to talk about attacks on ObamaCare. But President Trump isn’t making that easy.
  • The Trump administration on Wednesday filed its official legal argument calling for the entirety of the Affordable Care Act to be struck down, once again thrusting the issue back in the spotlight at a time when GOP lawmakers are trying to turn the page.
  • Over the past few months, though, GOP lawmakers had been mostly silent on ObamaCare, a law they aggressively attacked for eight years. The Affordable Care Act’s popularity has been rising in recent years…
  • “The last thing Senate Republicans want to be doing is participating in an exercise that would potentially remove coverage from people with pre-existing conditions that they already have,” said a Senate GOP strategist.
  • Trump, though, is on the attack against ObamaCare. In a speech last week, he touted the 2017 repeal of the law’s mandate to have coverage before adding, “Now we’re going for the rest.”
  • His administration is also supporting the lawsuit brought by a coalition of GOP-led states calling for overturning the law… Vulnerable Republican lawmakers are not eager to talk about the administration’s efforts on that front.
  • Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), perhaps the most vulnerable GOP senator up for reelection next year, said Thursday that he had not seen the administration’s legal filing, declining to comment on it and on his views on the lawsuit. His office did not respond to a follow-up inquiry.

Talking Points Memo: DOJ: Congress Nuked Obamacare With 2017 Tax Bill; Senate GOP: Uh, No We Didn’t

By Tierney Sneed
May 3, 2019

Key Points:

  • The Trump Justice Department’s position in a lawsuit seeking to strike down the Affordable Care Act is putting congressional Republicans in a weird spot.
  • If the Justice Department is successful in the case, the entirety of the Affordable Care Act will be struck down, just as the 2020 campaign season is getting into full swing. Republicans’ failed attempt at repealing the Affordable Care Act in 2017 was a disaster, and helped Democrats take the House in 2018. The Senate GOP has shown no interest in trying again to find a replacement, even as the threat of this lawsuit looms.
  • Making the whole situation even more awkward for congressional Republicans is that the legal challenge is being pushed on the basis of their 2017 tax bill that eliminated Obamacare’s individual mandate. And the Justice Department’s arguments rely, in part, on a legal theory the GOP previously endorsed in a 2012 Supreme Court case that sought to take down the law.
  • [T]he Justice Department didn’t make congressional Republicans’ lives any easier by abruptly changing its position in its case; the Trump administration had previously argued that only the pre-existing condition protections should been invalidated, but in court briefs filed Wednesday evening, the Trump administration is now arguing that the whole law should go down.
  • The Justice Department then blames Congress for not making more it clear that it no longer thought the mandate was “essential” to the preexisting conditions protections, a finding made by a previous Congress. The Justice Department said additionally that allowing the rest of the law to stand “would create an insurance market quite unlike the one that Congress intended, with potentially serious consequences for the stability of the market.”

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TWO-YEAR ANNIVERSARY: McSally Says “Let’s Get This F*cking Thing Done,” Votes to Gut Pre-Existing Conditions Coverage

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