Sen. Cantwell talks healthcare, pre-existing conditions at MultiCare Deaconness

By:  Caroline Rourke
Source: KXLY News

SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington Senator Maria Cantwell held a press conference at MultiCare Deaconness Hospital on Tuesday to discuss protections for pre-existing conditions, as a national discussion surrounding healthcare moves back into the spotlight.


A challenge filed on behalf of several states in a Texas federal court claims that, due to legislation passed last year, the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate is no longer constitutional and, further, that the entirety of the bill could be invalidated.


In early June, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed a brief regarding the case, saying that the Department of Justice would not defend the law against parts of the challenge.


The individual mandate has been one of the most hotly debated aspects of the ACA in the eight years since it passed. In a complex case before the Supreme Court in 2012, the individual mandate was deemed constitutional by a 5-4 vote.


The DOJ's brief does not say that the ACA could be invalidated, completely, and it does not have immediate effects on the status of the bill.


But, it once again calls the healthcare debate into the front of the national conversation, particularly one of the law's other well-known provisions- protections for pre-existing conditions.


Senator Cantwell's press conference in Spokane was focused on this issue- and what she and her Democratic colleagues in the Senate are doing in response.


Flyers handed out during the event say Cantwell is working with other senators to prepare a Senate resolution to “intervene in federal court to defend the [ACA's] pre-existing condition protections.”


“We're going to do everything we can to defend it, we're going to do everything we can to stand by the healthcare community in Spokane and say it works when you give people access to care,” she said.


The press conference also featured community speakers who shared their experienced with some of those conditions- diabetes and multiple sclerosis, specifically. Washington State Representative Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane) introduced Senator Cantwell.