Retiring Congressman Duffy to rely on pre-existing condition protections he voted to repeal

Despite pledging not to, Duffy voted to roll back the protections he will need to use after his ninth child is born.

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) and his wife Rachel Campos-Duffy plan to rely on pre-existing condition protections for their soon-to-be-born daughter.
Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) and his wife Rachel Campos-Duffy plan to rely on pre-existing condition protections for their soon-to-be-born daughter. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) announced on Monday that he will soon resign his House seat, citing family reasons. He and his wife, Fox News contributor Rachel Campos-Duffy, said their soon-to-be born ninth child will require heart surgery soon after her birth.

On Tuesday, Duffy explained that he had made sure the child will have access to health insurance despite her pre-existing conditions.

It is laudable that the Duffy family is preparing to provide as much care as possible for a child with serious medical challenges. But as a congressman, Duffy voted to take away those same important protections for others with pre-existing conditions — directly contradicting his own campaign promises.

The couple went on Fox News on Tuesday morning to explain their decision and situation. Both discussed the challenging schedule a member of Congress must endure and expressed their commitment to being present for their family.


Duffy was asked what he and his wife planned to do about healthcare in light of the pre-existing condition their daughter will be born with and his resignation from his job.

He noted that former members of Congress don’t get health insurance for life and explained he plans to get a COBRA plan for his family — utilizing a 1985 law that allows people to pay to stay on their employers’ health plans at their own expense for up to 18 months after leaving a job. 

We pay the full boat for that so we can transition and with the condition of the baby, we have that complete coverage,” Duffy said. “But, yeah, you are right. I had to look at that and make sure that with, open heart surgery, we had coverage to make sure that, you know, we could pay for that and we have got that worked out. So, thank God, that’s not a consideration as we look to the birth.”

While his daughter’s coverage will be protected for up to 18 months, after that in order to insure her the Duffys will need those pre-existing condition protections.


While Duffy promised as a candidate that he would protect insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and would not back any repeal of the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) that did not include a replacement with comparable protections, his record in Congress shows just the opposite.

A 2011 PolitiFact examination of Duffy’s vote to fully repeal Obamacare with no replacement noted that as a 2010 candidate, he vowed he “would not vote to repeal the legislation unless a better proposal was in place.” Months later, he voted to repeal the legislation without any replacement. PolitiFact dubbed this vote “a Full Flop.”

During his eight years in Congress, Duffy repeatedly voted to destroy Obamacare and undermine the pre-existing condition protections. He enthusiastically voted for Trumpcare in 2017, which would have made insurance coverage significantly less affordable for those with pre-existing conditions, and just this May he voted against the Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2019.

While legislative Obamacare repeal efforts are unlikely to go anywhere as long as Democrats control the House of Representatives, a Trump administration-backed lawsuit could imperil the law and some congressional Republicans have promised to kill the law in 2021 if they regain full control of the federal government.

This story has been updated to clarify that the pre-existing conditions protection will be necessary after the COBRA period is over.