GOP senators introduce bill to preserve ObamaCare's pre-existing conditions protections

GOP senators introduce bill to preserve ObamaCare's pre-existing conditions protections

Ten GOP senators this week introduced legislation that they say would protect ObamaCare provisions for people with pre-existing conditions.

The bill, introduced on Thursday, comes as congressional Democrats try to tie Republicans to the Trump administration's decision not to defend some ObamaCare provisions in a federal lawsuit filed by red states.

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The legislation is an effort by the GOP to push back on the Democratic attacks, and it shows the concern among Republicans over the court case ahead of the midterms.

“There are strong opinions on both sides when it comes to how we should overhaul our nation’s broken health care system, but the one thing we can all agree on is that we should protect health care for Americans with pre-existing conditions and ensure they have access to good coverage,” said Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisDems ready aggressive response to Trump emergency order, as GOP splinters Business, conservative groups slam Trump’s national emergency declaration GOP senator dedicates heart photo to wife from Senate floor for Valentine's Day MORE (R-N.C.), a main sponsor on the measure. “This legislation is a common-sense solution that guarantees Americans with preexisting conditions will have health care coverage, regardless of how our judicial system rules on the future of Obamacare.”

The lawsuit filed by some Republican states argues that ObamaCare is now unconstitutional because Congress last year repealed the 2010 health-care law's penalty associated with not having insurance.

The Department of Justice responded, saying most of the law could stand, except for protections for those with pre-existing conditions that prevent insurers from charging them more or denying coverage.

Senate Republicans said their bill would amend federal law to guarantee the availability of health insurance to all Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions, regardless of the outcome in the federal lawsuit.

The legislation also would prevent insurers from increasing premiums due to pre-existing conditions. However, health experts note that the bill would allow insurers to exclude coverage of pre-existing conditions.

“With the uncertainty of the outcome in the upcoming Texas v. United States case, this legislation is needed now more than ever to give Alaskans, and all Americans, the certainty they need that protections for those with pre-existing conditions will remain intact," said Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE (R-Alaska). "I’m proud to support a bill that will make sure no one loses coverage."

The other Republican co-sponsors are: Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderDems ready aggressive response to Trump emergency order, as GOP splinters Congress must move forward on measure dealing with fentanyl GOP advances rules change to speed up confirmation of Trump nominees MORE (Tenn.), Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyHigh stakes as Trump, Dems open drug price talks Senate approves border bill that prevents shutdown Grassley raises voice after McConnell interrupts Senate speech MORE (Iowa), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerTrump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary Oregon Dem top recipient of 2018 marijuana industry money, study finds MORE (Nev.), Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyCongress must step up to protect Medicare home health care Ivanka Trump to meet with GOP senators to discuss paid family leave legislation Bipartisan senators ask industry for information on surprise medical bills MORE (La.), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstPush for paid family leave heats up ahead of 2020 Ivanka Trump to meet with GOP senators to discuss paid family leave legislation On The Money: Negotiators aiming to reach deal Monday night | Why border talks stalled | Treasury calls reports on dip in tax refunds 'misleading' | Cuomo, Trump to discuss SALT deduction cap MORE (Iowa), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: More urgent for kids in Kentucky to have secure border than new school 
 White House, GOP defend Trump emergency declaration Limbaugh calls 25th Amendment discussions 'silent coup' MORE (S.C.), John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoDems slam EPA plan for fighting drinking water contaminants Overnight Energy: Zinke joins Trump-tied lobbying firm | Senators highlight threat from invasive species | Top Republican calls for Green New Deal vote in House Senators highlight threat from invasive species MORE (Wyo.) and Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerTrump signs executive order to boost AI technology Hillicon Valley: Feds looking into Bezos claims about National Enquirer | Amazon reconsidering New York City HQ2 move | Sprint sues AT&T over 5G marketing claims Senate to hold hearing on potential privacy bill MORE (Miss.).

Democrats have tried to tie the lawsuit to congressional Republicans ahead of the midterms as ObamaCare surges in popularity.

Vulnerable Democratic Sens. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOvernight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary On The Money: Shutdown Day 27 | Trump fires back at Pelosi by canceling her foreign travel | Dems blast 'petty' move | Trump also cancels delegation to Davos | House votes to disapprove of Trump lifting Russia sanction MORE (N.D.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate confirms Trump pick William Barr as new attorney general GOP wants to pit Ocasio-Cortez against Democrats in the Senate Senate poised to confirm Trump’s attorney general pick MORE (W.Va.) have highlighted the lawsuit in recent ads against their Republican challengers.

Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked an amendment from Manchin that would instruct the Senate legal counsel to intervene in the federal lawsuit and defend ObamaCare.

It would have been a hard vote for Republicans to take ahead of the midterms, as it would put them in the position of going up against the Trump administration's Department of Justice.

Court hearings for the lawsuit are slated for Sept. 5.