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During all of 2017, the Republican-led Congress sought to repeal the Affordable Care Act multiple times. The GOP introduced and voted on proposals that would cause insurance premiums to spike and leave millions of Americans uninsured. Most Americans agreed with Democrats in Congress on at least one thing: that consumer protections for those with preexisting conditions should remain in place.

Even President Donald Trump strongly supported protections for those with preexisting conditions. In fact, during a presidential debate in the 2016 campaign, Trump said: “I want to keep preexisting conditions. I think we need it. I think it’s a modern age. And I think we have to have it.”

But now these campaign promises ring hollow when one considers recent action by the Trump administration; earlier this month, the Department of Justice announced that it will not defend the constitutionality of the ACA in court, including the provision that bans insurance companies from denying coverage (or charging more) to people with preexisting conditions … the ACA’s most popular reform.

The very real impact of the Trump administration’s decision is clear: overnight, Americans would again be at the mercy of big insurance companies; companies ready to once again deny coverage to people with a preexisting condition just to increase their profits.

Roughly one half of all American adults, 130 million people, have a pre-existing condition. 275,000 of these are North Dakotans, who will be denied coverage or put at grave risk because they are priced out of the health care market. All because of disastrous GOP and Trump administration policies. We can do better than that for our country and her people. Ask those who are running for office this year if they will do the right thing and vote to protect the lives of Americans.

Mary C. Tintes, West Fargo

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