WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats filed a resolution Tuesday that would allow Congress to intervene in a federal court case in Texas to defend the Affordable Care Act and secure protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
The resolution was filed by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., who have sought to protect portions of the ACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare, from Republican repeal and court challenges that could impact 133 million people with pre-existing medical conditions, including 1.2 million people in Nevada.
Rosen, who filed a similar bill in the House during the last Congress, said during her Senate campaign that constituents spoke to her about their concerns and offered anecdotes about a family member or a friend that had a pre-existing condition.
“The anxiety is palpable,” Rosen told a Senate news conference. “Everyone is only one diagnosis away.”
Manchin urged Republican lawmakers to join them on the resolution to preserve protections that were part of the ACA, prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
A Texas court struck down that protection in a recent lawsuit, and found the ACA unconstitutional.
The Trump administration has declined to defend the ACA on appeal. The Senate resolution would allow the Senate legal counsel to intervene and argue on behalf of the law.
A similar measure was passed last week in the Democrat-controlled House, 235-192. It would allow the House legal counsel to defend the constitutionality of the law on appeal.
Republicans control the Senate, and Manchin acknowledged the hurdle in passing the resolution in a chamber controlled by lawmakers who have voted repeatedly to repeal the ACA. Manchin said GOP lawmakers are feeling heat from constituents, too, about coverage.
“We just got to keep the pressure up,” Manchin said.