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July 19, 2018

King Backs Resolution to Defend Constitutionality of Pre-Existing Conditions Protections

Resolution authorizes the Senate Legal Counsel to participate in the Texas vs. U.S. lawsuit; the Department of Justice has refused to defend the law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) joined a group of his Senate colleagues to introduce a resolution that would authorize Senate Legal Counsel to intervene in the Texas vs. United States lawsuit, which is challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) provisions protecting people with pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is a disease or other illness that started before a person sought medical insurance. The ACA required insurance companies cover everyone no matter their medical history. Earlier this year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it won’t defend that guarantee in the ACA; this resolution would allow the Senate Legal Counsel to defend people with pre-existing conditions on behalf of the United States Senate.

“People living with medical conditions should be able to obtain health insurance, rather than being charged astronomical prices or barred outright from purchasing a plan. That’s not just common sense – it’s the law of the land,” said Senator King. “However, the DOJ is refusing to defend these protections for those with pre-existing conditions. This decision is as shocking as it is cruel; not only does it ignore the DOJ’s constitutional duty, but it does so in order to advance a policy position that will harm the health of our citizens. Someone should be defending the millions of Americans living with intellectual or developmental disabilities, diabetes, pediatric cancer, or even a concussion sustained during high school sports. This provision in the ACA has given millions access to insurance and has saved lives – not to mention the livelihoods – of millions of Americans. That’s why I’ve joined my Senate colleagues in this effort, and why I’ll keep fighting to defend health insurance for Maine people, however, whenever, and as strongly as I possibly can.”

Senator King has been outspoken in opposition to Administration moves and legislative proposals that seek to undermine the Affordable Care Act. Earlier this month he published a post on Medium highlighting the Administration’s efforts to weaken the ACA. Last month, he hosted a conversation with Maine people with pre-existing conditions, health care advocates and medical professionals focused on the importance of these protections, and released a video on his social media accounts criticizing the DOJ’s “downright cruel” decision. In October, he spoke on the Senate floor in advance of ACA Open Enrollment Period regarding the “sabotage” efforts underway from the Administration. At the same time, Senator King has pursued agreements that would improve the Affordable Care Act to protect coverage for the millions who rely on it for affordable health care, and has developed several proposals to make common sense fixes to the legislation. During the health care debate last summer, Senator King outlined a roadmap of health care priorities to stabilize the health care marketplace and lower the underlying costs of treatment and health coverage for people in Maine and across the country.

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