As Oral Arguments Begin in GOP Lawsuit Against Pre-Existing Conditions Protections, Heller’s Record Shows Where He Stands

Oral arguments begin today in Texas v. United States, the Trump-backed GOP lawsuit that would invalidate the Affordable Care Act and overturn the law’s protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Roughly one in four Nevadans - more than 400,000 non-elderly adults across our state - have a pre-existing condition.

Sen. Dean Heller has been dodging questions for months about the lawsuit, repeatedly refusing to oppose the GOP’s effort to reverse these consumer protections in court. At the same time, he’s been spewing lies to try to rewrite his record and even introduced a sham bill on pre-existing conditions that’s been slammed by Nevada’s top health exchange official.

The facts show that Heller has worked time and time again in Washington to gut the ACA’s pre-existing conditions protections, which is why he’s now hitting the panic button in his latest ad.

Rosen for Nevada spokesperson Molly Forgey released the following statement:

“While Senator Heller pushes a fraudulent bill to try to cover up his record, Jacky Rosen is actually standing up for Nevada families and fighting to ensure Congress defends the Affordable Care Act’s pre-existing conditions protections in federal court. From his refusal to oppose this reckless lawsuit to the out of touch plans he’s pushing that slash coverage protections for pre-existing conditions, Senator Heller is a threat to Nevadans’ health care as long as he stays in office.”

BACKGROUND

HELLER HAS REPEATEDLY WORKED TO UNDERMINE COVERAGE PROTECTIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS

2011: Heller Voted To Eliminate The Affordable Care Act’s Protections For Pre-Existing Conditions

Heller Voted To Repeal The Affordable Care Act. In January 2011, Heller voted for: “Passage of the bill that would repeal the 2010 health care overhaul law, which requires most individuals to buy health insurance by 2014, makes changes to government health care programs and sets new requirements for health insurers. The bill would restore the provisions of law amended or repealed by the health care overhaul, and repeal certain provisions of the health care reconciliation law.” The bill passed, 245-189. [CQ, 1/19/11; H.R. 2, Vote 14, 1/19/11]

2017: Heller Voted To Advance A Republican Bill That Could Have Meant People With Pre-Existing Conditions Being Ultimately Unable To Purchase Health Insurance

  • The Text Of The Bill Specifies That The Affordable Care Act Is Repealed In Its Entirety, Without Exception For Protections For Pre-Existing Conditions. “(a) Job-Killing Health Care Law.—Effective as of the enactment of Public Law 111–148, such Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted. (b) Health Care-Related Provisions In The Health Care And Education Reconciliation Act Of 2010.—Effective as of the enactment of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Public Law 111–152), title I and subtitle B of title II of such Act are repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such title or subtitle, respectively, are restored or revived as if such title and subtitle had not been enacted.” [H.R. 2, 1/05/11]

Heller Voted In Favor Of The Senate Motion To Proceed With The American Health Care Act. On July 25, 2017 Heller Voted In Favor Of The Motion To Proceed With The American Health Care Act. “On the Motion to Proceed (Motion to Proceed to H.R. 1628) A bill to provide for reconciliation pursuant to title II of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2017.” The motion vote tied 50-50, the Vice President voted yea to break the tie. [CQ, 7/25/17, Senate Roll Call Vote, Vote 167, 7/25/17]

2017: Heller Helped Introduce A Republican Bill That Weakens Protections For Pre-Existing Conditions

  • The Congressional Budget Office Predicted That Under AHCA, People With Pre-Existing Conditions Would Ultimately Be Unable To Purchase Health Insurance. According to the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the American Health Care Act, “CBO and JCT expect that, as a consequence, the waivers in those states would have another effect: Community-rated premiums would rise over time, and people who are less healthy (including those with preexisting or newly acquired medical conditions) would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive nongroup health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all—despite the additional funding that would be available under H.R. 1628 to help reduce premiums.” [CBO Analysis of the American Health Care Act, 5/24/17]

PolitiFact: “Graham-Cassidy, The GOP Alternative To Obamacare, Weakens Protections For Pre-Existing Conditions.” [PolitiFact, 9/22/17]

2018: Heller Tried To Cover His Bases By Cosponsoring A Bill To Protect Pre-Existing Conditions – But That’s Not What The Bill Actually Does

Heller Cosponsored A Bill That Claimed To Restore Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions. “U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and nine of his Republican colleagues have introduced legislation to bring back the Affordable Care Act’s protections for patients with pre-existing conditions in the event that a federal court strikes them down next week, though health-care policy experts are cautioning that the bill may still leave sick patients without the care they need. The bill, which was introduced in the Senate on Thursday, would preserve two key portions of the 2010 health-care law that prevent insurance companies from denying coverage and charging higher premiums to patients with pre-existing conditions. Both provisions are currently in limbo pending the outcome of Texas v. United States, a Republican-led lawsuit brought by 20 states challenging the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality after Congress removed the tax penalty associated with the law’s individual mandate to buy health insurance.” [Nevada Independent, 8/29/18; CQ, 8/23/18; S.3388, Introduced 8/23/18, Cosponsored 8/23/18]

Analysts Found Heller’s Bill Allowed Exclusions For Coverage Of Pre-Existing Conditions, A Loophole That Was Described As, “Throwing A 10-Foot Rope To Somebody In A 20-Foot Hole.” “But the Republican-sponsored legislation doesn’t include a third portion of the federal law in jeopardy that prohibits insurance companies from excluding coverage of the pre-existing condition itself, an omission that one health-care expert described as ‘throwing a 10-foot rope to somebody in a 20-foot hole.’ In short, a person with diabetes couldn’t be denied insurance or charged more for their coverage under the legislation, but an insurance company could decide not to cover any doctor’s visits, medication or other treatment associated with the diabetes diagnosis.” [Nevada Independent, 8/29/18]

Las Vegas Sun: “Health Exchange Head Says Heller Bill Gives Illusion Of Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions.” [Las Vegas Sun, 8/30/18]

HuffPost: “The GOP’s New Pre-Existing Conditions Promise Is A Fraud.” [HuffPost, 8/24/18]