Kavanaugh Dodges Question on Pre-Existing Condition Provision

Protections were a key part of the 2010 health care law

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh faced senators again on Wednesday as his nomination hearing continued. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee, on Wednesday declined to say whether he would vote to overturn a statute requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions.

The Barack Obama-era 2010 health care law includes protections for people with pre-existing conditions, but the Trump Justice Department has said it would not defend the provision. Democrats have signaled they view any effort to save it as a solid midterm campaign message.

Senate Judiciary Committee member Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said during a private meeting, the sitting federal appellate court judge would not guarantee that he would vote to uphold the pre-existing protections. The high court nominee did the same during his confirmation hearing before the panel.

As he had when asked about other issues that come before the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh told senators he — like the eight sitting justices before him — would not comment on such potential cases.

To Whitehouse’s frustration, the nominee said he “can’t give specifics” on the 2010 health law’s protections and how he might come down out of respect for that “nominee precedent and for respect for judicial independence.”

Around the same time, at the White House, President Donald Trump told reporters longtime journalist Bob Woodward's coming book on his tenure “was put out to interfere in, my opinion, with the Kavanaugh hearings.”

Watch: Schumer Forces Senate to Adjourn to Protest Kavanaugh Hearing

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