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IN THE NEWS: Joe Donnelly’s emphasis on fighting to protect pre-existing conditions resonates across Indiana

Republicans in Congress and the administration have continued their efforts to sabotage our nation’s health care system, now siding with a lawsuit making its way through the courts that would strip popular and crucial protections for pre-existing conditions.

Meanwhile, Joe Donnelly is traveling to all four corners of Indiana to let Hoosiers know that he will fight in the Senate to protect their health care.

The New York Times today reported that asking Hoosiers how many of them know someone with a pre-existing condition “has become a staple of [Joe’s] campaign events.” The answer is typically nearly everyone – nearly a quarter of adults have a qualifying condition, and they’re counting on people like Joe to stop insurance companies from tearing away their health care.

From the New York Times: After Years of Quiet, Democratic Candidates Can’t Stop Talking About Health Care

Joe Donnelly of Indiana, another Democratic senator in a close race for re-election this year. His version — asking coal workers at a Boonville, Ind., rally how many knew someone with a pre-existing condition — “really moved me,” Mr. Donnelly said. It has become a staple of his campaign events, too.

More than a quarter of working-age adults have a pre-existing health condition, like asthma, diabetes or cancer, that might have locked them out of the insurance market in the years before Obamacare, according to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“I completely can see why they’re excited to be able to talk about this issue again,” said Mollyann Brodie, a senior vice president at Kaiser, who runs the group’s public opinion polling. The foundation’s most recent survey, released last week, found that pre-existing conditions had become the most important health care concern among voters, ranked the most important campaign issue for many of them over all. “I agree with the strategy, based on our polling and everyone else’s polling. It’s a time when it is going to work.”

The second change came more recently, when the Trump administration decided not to defend Obamacare from a lawsuit brought by the Republican attorneys general of 20 states. The lawsuit argues that the entire law should be invalidated as unconstitutional. The Trump administration’s position is that most of the law should remain on the books, but that its protections for people with pre-existing illnesses should be stripped away.

“What has changed is all the warning lights are on right now,” Mr. Donnelly said.