Supreme Court Notifies Voters: Protections for Pre-existing Conditions are on the 2020 Ballot

Monday’s announcement the Supreme Court will take up the Affordable Care Act (ACA) lawsuit means health care is again on the ballot. Though the decision likely won’t happen until after the election, the issue should be on the minds of voters. People will need to be elected who want to protect pre-existing conditions and other provisions that help our vulnerable neighbors. In the meantime, expect the same old song and dance from politicians who want to mislead voters about their record on health care.

The delay in a final decision on the entire ACA until after the 2020 election is exactly what the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans had hoped for. At the end of 2019, a federal appeals court struck down part of the ACA. The Court ruled that the individual mandate for insurance was unconstitutional. This follows the mandate elimination in the rushed 2017 tax cut. Additionally, the Court sent “back to a lower court the question of whether the rest of the law can remain without it.” Now the Supreme Court says they’ll weigh in.

How’d we get here? In 2018, North Dakota’s Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem joined the lawsuit originating in Texas. Stenehjem has refused to tell the public who “asked” him to join the lawsuit now before the Supreme Court. We do know North Dakota’s Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread helped Stenehjem in the decision. When pressed on it by the public, these politicians panicked and held a misleading press conference about their stance on health care policy. Governor Burgum sent his Lt. Governor Brent Sanford to stand next to Kelly Armstrong and Kevin Cramer.

Protections for pre-existing conditions are on the line. These politicians support the lawsuit to eliminate them. Period. They’ll try to tell you otherwise and that they support your coverage as this decision pends and coverage hangs in the balance. Don’t buy the bullshit.

Want an ND example? Recall in 2019, An amendment was offered by Democrat Rep. Rick Holman and accepted in the Insurance Departments budget late in the session. It caught many politicians off guard. That amendment would have put protections for preexisting conditions in state law should ACA be overturned. After some nervous chatter from the Insurance Commissioner and angry legislators on the House floor, the protections were stripped out and turned into a “study.”

Bottom line, those who have failed to act own the uncertainty that follows. Senator Kevin Cramer admitted he has no idea what happens to people’s health care if the law is struck down. We are rapidly approaching this scenario. Voters won’t need to wait on a court decision to remember the facts outlined above in November of 2020. Look for candidates who offer more than just words.

Tyler Axness
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