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US Sen. Robert Casey

‘Goddamn’ GOP lawsuit is ‘ripping away’ at Obamacare

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Editor’s note – US Sen. Robert Casey, representing Pennsylvania, is a staunch supporter of LGBT civil rights. From marriage equality, hate crime, safe schools to a national Equality Act, he’s solid. Pennsylvania Capital-Star interviewed Casey on other issues of importance that our community also follows. Why? Because we are more than a single issue (our own) community.

The Central Voice and Pennsylvania Capital-Star have a content-sharing partnership.

When you get the call that U.S. Sen. Bob Casey wants to swing by the office to chat, you ask yourself just one question: Which Bob Casey are you gonna get? Will you get the Bob Casey who wonked Rick Santorum to death in 2006? Or will you get rage-filled (expectations adjusted) ‘Woke‘ Bob Casey who stomped across the electoral landscape in 2018?

Now safely re-elected to a third term after defeating Republican Lou Barletta last November, we got equal parts Wonky Bob and Woke Bob when Pennsylvania’s senior United States senator swung by the office for a chat on a very rainy Monday afternoon.

While the filibuster may be under threat in the Senate, it appears to be perfectly safe with Casey, who held forth at length on infrastructure, the state of play in the gun debate, and climate change. But if you really wanted to get him going — well, for Bob Casey, anyway — then all you had to do was get him talking about healthcare. And faster than you could say ‘pre-existing condition,’ he was off to the races.

As you are no doubt aware, Republicans have been trying their darndest to overturn the Affordable Care Act in federal court. In July, a federal appeals court in New Orleans heard 90 minutes of oral arguments from lawyers on both sides of the issue. That appearance came after a lower court judge in Texas declared the ACA unconstitutional, jeopardizing the healthcare of millions of Americans, the New York Times reported at the time.

Speaking to the Capital-Star on Monday, a visibly frustrated Casey went after the GOP for their attacks on the law (Republicans, by the way, have no actual alternative if Obamacare is eventually struck down).

“We’re [Democrats] going to make sure those protections … for pre-existing conditions are there, come hell or high water,” Casey said. “If we make the presidential election about that, and the next congressional election about that, that will do quite well.”

Casey, who’s not a fan of Medicare for All, said he’s going to spend as much time as he can protecting the Affordable Care Act, because “these threats are real.”

“Republicans are not kidding around,” he continued. “I think a lot of Americans thought, ‘Those Republicans, they won’t repeal the Affordable Care Act. They wouldn’t do that.’ They’re just going to rip away at it. We found that out in 2017 and 2018, that they’re deadly serious. And when they failed in the repeal, they went right to this goddamn lawsuit, and here we are.”

He paused, then added, with a grin, “That’s a term of art, ‘Goddamn.'”

Joe Biden campaigns in Pittsburgh (Politico – screen capture)

Casey, who’s backing former Veep Joe Biden in the 2020 primary sweepstakes, said his fellow Dems are taking their eye off the ball if they’re going all in for Medicare for All. Better, he appeared to indicate, is if the 2020 hopefuls focus on protecting what’s already in place.

“I’m going to be critical of Democrats,” he said. “Democrats in the presidential campaign and congressional campaigns, and in our … daily work in Washington, have to focus on these health care issues. It’s interesting to have a debate about some new idea. Some, some people want to talk about Medicare for All all day long. It’s a mistake to spend our time debating some future idea when the whole thing is at risk with this lawsuit, the entire system is are being undermined in real time by [GOP] sabotage.”