Republicans are running scared on health care, as they very well should be. After all, it was their unceasing efforts to destroy the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in its entirety that drove the Republican Party for the past decade and created the Democratic tsunami of 2018. Now, on the cusp of an even bigger blue wave and with the Supreme Court one whack job justice away from making Republican dreams come true. That includes the dream of one Sen. John Cornyn, who in the summer of 2017 was serving as what Politico called "Obamacare repeal's top salesman."
In 2020, Cornyn has a new role: threatened incumbent. So here's the the ad he's running to save his ass. "You know preexisting conditions is something we all agree should be covered," Cornyn says. Then a nice lady narrates: "And with John Cornyn's plan, they will be covered. Cornyn lowers the cost of health care, lets you keep your doctor and keeps Medicare intact for seniors who have paid for it their entire life. It lowers the cost of prescription drugs and ends surprise billings." Lovely.
Help MJ Hegar boot Cornyn and save the republic.
Except the part about how Cornyn doesn't really have a plan other than invoking the magic words "we have a plan and will protect preexisting conditions" and figuring that'll do the trick. And Republicans don't agree that medical history should not prevent someone from getting health insurance. There's a brief from Donald Trump's Justice Department sitting in the Supreme Court right now that argues explicitly that those protections are tied directly to the individual mandate and when it goes, they have to go, too. It's right there in black and white. When The Washington Post asked Cornyn's campaign if he supports that lawsuit, they would not answer.
The "skinny" repeal bill Cornyn tried to shepherd through the Senate had the words "nothing […] shall be construed to restrict the amount that an employer or individual may be charged for coverage under a group health plan." One of the magic tricks Republicans are relying on here is that people won't cotton on to the fact that that phrase right there means insurance companies can charge them as much as they like in premiums on the basis of medical history. Sure, insurance companies have to—by law—offer health insurance to people with preexisting conditions. They can just make those plans totally unaffordable. Hence the whole premise of the Affordable Care Act. The law that currently exists. That outlawed the practice of making health insurance too expensive for sick people to buy into. And Republicans hate that.
They hate it so much that they've devoted almost all their efforts for the past decade to getting rid of it, because they think that the freedom for insurance companies to make as much money as they possibly can outweighs the right of their constituents to protect their own health. That's an extremely unpopular position, so they have to lie about it. While they're shoving through a Supreme Court nominee who they are pretty darned sure agrees with them and will vote to destroy protections for people's preexisting conditions. In the middle of a pandemic.
Let's go back to 2017 and how Cornyn viewed his role as the guy who was going to make the whole law fall, including protections for preexisting conditions. Because that's exactly what he was doing and he knew it. "This is about more than just health care," he said then. "This is about our ability to demonstrate now that we've got the White House and majorities in both houses that we can actually govern. And so I think what we do here is going to be important to laying the foundation to move forward on tax reform and other issues."
Look where we're at now and the demonstration we've seen from Sen. Mitch McConnell and Cornyn and Trump about how they will govern. They won't. They'll let a pandemic rage through the country destroying lives and livelihoods. And while they're doing that, they'll work proactively at making it even worse by making sure that the survivors can't even get health care. Or anything nice ever again, because Supreme Court.