House Democrats eye early vote to protect coverage for pre-existing conditions

Key House Democrats plan to hold a vote on protecting health insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions early next year, a signature issue that propelled many to victory during Tuesday’s midterm elections.

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Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., who’s poised to take the reins of the House Ways and Means Committee next year, told The Washington Post that a vote should happen as soon as Democrats assume control of the House in January.

That vote has garnered support from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, according to spokesperson Henry Connelly.

“Voters across the country have delivered a resounding verdict against Republicans’ war on health care,” Connelly said in a statement. “The new Democratic House Majority will move swiftly to defend the vital protections for people with pre-existing conditions still under legal assault by the GOP.”

Not only would most Democrats be fulfilling a campaign promise by doing so, they would also be challenging Republicans up for re-election who said they support coverage for pre-existing conditions – all while the Trump administration fights to kill the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with a group of 20 Republican-controlled states, sued in February to overhaul maybe the biggest legislative accomplishment of the Obama administration, arguing that Congress had eliminated a key provision in the legislation when it passed the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The ACA effectively ended any discrimination against people living with pre-existing conditions.

But while campaigning, many Republicans insisted they supported protecting that coverage, including Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who was running for senator, at the same time the state -- in its official capacity -- was supporting a lawsuit to overturn the current protections for pre-existing conditions.

President Trump also interceded on Republicans’ behalf, writing in an October tweet that “all” Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions, and said if they didn’t, he’d speak to them.