Hawley says lawsuit is a step to reform Obamacare
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Senate Democrats are calling on Attorney General Josh Hawley to withdraw from a lawsuit dealing with preexisting conditions in health care coverage.
Hawley joined the federal lawsuit, led by Texas, (Texas v. United States, No. 4: l 8-cv-00167-O), back in February, taking part in a 20-state coalition of attorneys general challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and a number of Missouri Democrats say the move means Hawley is threatening the healthcare of those with preexisting conditions.
Hawley, who is seeking the GOP nomination to run against McCaskill for her seat in November, says he supports mandating that insurance companies cover preexisting conditions, but says he wants reforms to the health care law.
The Trump administration’s Justice Department in June stated in a letter that it would not defend the constitutionality of some provisions, saying they would argue against those provisions, an effort to overturn the preexisting protections.
Members of the Missouri Senate Democratic Caucus on Monday penned a letter to Hawley, saying:
“Make no mistake, if your lawsuit prevails, coverage for millions of Americans and protections for preexisting conditions would disappear overnight. By being a party to this lawsuit, you are squarely on the side of removing protections for Americans – including 2.5 million Missourians – with pre-existing conditions.”
A coalition of health care, labor, and social justice groups also joined the call for Hawley to drop the suit.
Protect Our Care Missouri also filed a Sunshine Request with Hawley’s office, demanding any and all communications between the Trump administration and the Attorney General’s office regarding the lawsuit.
“If Attorney General Hawley is telling the truth that he supports protections with pre-existing conditions, then he will drop his lawsuit against those protections immediately,” said Tom Bastian, spokesman for Protect Our Care Missouri. “Missouri has among the largest shares of people with pre-existing conditions – and right now all of them are at risk of being discriminated against and denied care. This is unacceptable and needs to stop.”
“A year ago this week, a bipartisan coalition stopped Congress from repealing the Affordable Care Act, but that was just the beginning,” said Paul Washington, an organizer with Missouri Jobs with Justice whose son has a pre-existing condition. “Now the Trump administration and its allies like Josh Hawley are attempting to dismantle the law through other means – and take away these important consumer protections along with it. We can’t let this happen. For my son and the millions of other Missourians with pre-existing conditions, we’re speaking out and fighting back.”
This all comes just one day before Hawley is scheduled to attend President Trump’s visit to Missouri on Tuesday.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.