West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has called his bid for re-election ground zero for Obamacare's future with hopes that Obamacare supporters will turn out to vote in November and help him keep his Senate seat, The Washington Times reported.
Residents have begged the senator to save Obamacare, according to The Times. Manchin said many families would not be able to get health care for loved ones with pre-existing conditions if not for the Affordable Care Act.
“Pat Morrisey has a lot to answer for. We have many people calling our campaign office because they are deeply concerned that Pat is selling out West Virginians to insurance companies,” Manchin campaign spokesman Grant Herring told news outlet.
Manchin's opponent W. Va. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who won the GOP nomination last week, is one of 20 attorneys general who filed a lawsuit against the ACA in February calling it unconstitutional after Congress removed the "individual mandate" penalty for those lacking insurance.
But Morrisey believes voters want to undo the Obama-era policy that led to spikes in insurance coverage for many Americans.
“This November, voters will have a choice between Patrick Morrisey, who stands with President Trump to improve health care for all Americans, or Joe Manchin, who sides with Obama and Hillary and their failed big government policies which have hiked premiums for West Virginia families,” Nathan Brand, a spokesman for Morrisey, said.
What is the purpose of the lawsuit?
The lawsuit alleges that, since the "tax" portion of Obamacare has been repealed, the statute as a whole is no longer constitutional. The argument is based on the fact that Chief Justice John Roberts declared that the law exceeded Congress' power to enact laws under the Commerce Clause, but cast the deciding vote at the Supreme Court to save Obamacare on the basis that it was within Congress' power to levy taxes. Without the individual mandate, which was characterized by Roberts as a "tax," the plaintiffs believe that the law may be again subject to a viable Supreme Court challenge.
Republican lawmakers want to undo the ACA's framework that has allowed premiums to skyrocket while setting the stage to create better health care policies.
“Insurance companies should be required to cover folks with pre-existing conditions and also to allow kids to stay on their parents’ insurance up to age 26. And insurance companies should be forced to do a lot more — like actually compete for families’ business, instead of getting these sweetheart deals from big government,” Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said.
Hawley, who is also running for the U.S. Senate, is among the suit's plaintiffs.
How will it help consumers if the ACA is overturned?
"Consumers will have more choices, more competition, more options, more individual freedom and lower premiums," if the court agrees with the lawsuit, Sen. Ted Cruz (R), who's also seeking re-election, said. “That’s a win for health care consumers across the country.”
Texas is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
What did the Justice Department say?
Earlier this month, the Justice Department sided with the attorneys general in the lawsuit.
It said that "the ACA can't stand without the individual mandate's tax penalty," Modern Healthcare reported.
"Congress found that enforcing guaranteed-issue and community-rating requirements without an individual mandate would allow individuals to game the system by waiting until they were sick to purchase health insurance, thereby increasing the price of insurance for everyone else — the polar opposite of what Congress sought in enacting the ACA," the Justice Department wrote.
Democratic attorneys general have been given a chance to defend the ACA before it can be overturned.