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Senate Dems concerned about future of Affordable Care Act

Senate Dems concerned about future of Affordable Care Act

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ Senate Democrats are raising concerns over President Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick, Amy Coney Barrett, especially as the pandemic rages on and there's uncertainty regarding the long-term health effects of the virus.

Democrats argue that COVID-19 will be considered a pre-existing condition and any type of medical complications that insurance companies can claim were aggravated as a result of the virus will no longer be covered.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, said the long-term health complications of COVID-19 put Americans at risk.

"Insurance companies don't play games, they just err on the side of caution and make as [many] conditions pre-existing ... as they can," Murphy said.

Murphy said the new effort to fill the Supreme Court vacancy raises the stakes.

"I'm sure if insurance companies get the ability again to raise rates for people with pre-existing conditions and that's what happens if Amy Coney Barrett is put on the Supreme Court," Murphy said.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, said that's bad for the country.

"That could subject millions of Americans to additional restrictions on coverage," Cardin said.

But Republicans argue striking down the Affordable Care Act won't cause the problems Democrats are describing.

"Even if they find the individual mandate unconstitutional and it should now be struck down, which I believe is the right ruling, that doesn't necessarily mean the rest of the law falls it could all still stand," Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, said.

But even so, Hawley said Congress needs to act.

"Pass legislation that will A, make it clear that people with pre-existing conditions can keep their healthcare and B, will help bring down the cost of health care and also the cost of prescription drugs," he said.

The constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act will go before the high court a week after the November election.

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