CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In an advertisement scheduled for release Friday, West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s campaign attacks his Republican opponent, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, for his involvement in a lawsuit targeting the federal health care law.
West Virginia and 19 other states are suing the federal government over “Obamacare,” arguing the statute is unconstitutional following the repeal of the individual mandate in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
The individual mandate required people to purchase health insurance or face a penalty.
The spot features Natalie Hardy, of Harpers Ferry, who says she has a pre-existing condition.
“I’ve had a kidney transplant,” she says. “I don’t know how Patrick Morrisey doesn’t understand. Diabetes, high blood pressure. We’re all affected in the same way if we lose coverage.”
Manchin has repeatedly said around 800,000 West Virginians would be at risk of losing insurance coverage if the lawsuit succeeds.
“It’s wrong for Patrick Morrisey to want to take coverage from West Virginians like me,” Hardy says.
Manchin introduced a resolution in July asking the Senate Legal Counsel to represent the Senate in the lawsuit, Texas v. United States. The 48 other members of the Senate Democratic Caucus support the action.
Manchin also wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the Justice Department’s refusal to defend the law.
“Without attempting to understand the full impact of their actions, DOJ’s reckless and irresponsible conclusion that it is not obligated to defend the constitutionality of the ACA provisions that guaranty protections for people with pre-existing conditions is extremely concerning,” he wrote. “Furthermore, this decision will create another layer of uncertainty for insurers across the country, just as those insurers are beginning to file proposed premiums for next year.”
The future of the health care law is also a factor in whether Manchin votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court may ultimately decide the fate of pre-existing conditions protections for nearly 800,000 West Virginians and will personally impact everyone who knows somebody with a pre-existing condition,” Manchin said following his July 30 meeting with Kavanaugh.
“I will not make a final decision on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination until I complete a thorough and fair examination of his candidacy in order to decide whether he should hold the position of Associate Justice on the highest court in the land, just as I did with Neil Gorsuch,” he added.
Morrisey told reporters in July protections for pre-existing conditions should remain in some capacity.
“There is no debate over coverage for preexisting conditions, but that won’t stop liberal Joe Manchin and his Washington special interests allies from launching false Hillary Clinton-style attacks. Attorney General Morrisey believes all West Virginians deserve access to affordable and quality healthcare and that is why we must repeal and replace the disaster of Obamacare,” Morrisey campaign spokesman Nathan Brand said Friday.
“Manchin’s support for Obama’s government-run healthcare and skyrocketing premiums is proof that he’ll put his Washington special interests ahead of the healthcare of West Virginians.”