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 TillisSenate votes to overturn IRS guidance limiting donor disclosure GOP tensions running high on criminal justice bill Trump tells McConnell to let Senate vote on criminal justice reform 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The lawsuit filed by some Republican states argues that ObamaCare is now unconstitutional because Congress last year repealed the 2010 health-care law's penalty associated with not having insurance.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 MurkowskiHouse funding bill scraps Arctic icebreaker program Senate advances Trump energy pick after Manchin flips The Senate must reject Bernard McNamee’s nomination for FERC 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 AlexanderRepublicans skeptical of Trump’s plan to have military build the wall The Year Ahead: Drug pricing efforts to test bipartisanship Overnight Health Care: Manchin pitched Trump on reviving bipartisan ObamaCare fix | 4 in 10 don’t plan to get flu shots | Survey finds more than a quarter have pre-existing conditions MORE (Tenn.), Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe Year Ahead: Tough tests loom for Trump trade agenda Senate heads toward floor fight on criminal justice bill Top security officials issue stark warning of Chinese espionage efforts MORE (Iowa), Dean HellerDean Arthur Heller How to reform the federal electric vehicle tax credit White House jumps into fight over energy subsidies One last fight for Sen. Orrin Hatch MORE (Nev.), Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyThe Year Ahead: Drug pricing efforts to test bipartisanship GOP balks at Trump drug pricing plan Overnight Defense: Senate rebukes Trump with Yemen vote | Mattis, Pompeo briefing fails to quell Senate concerns with Saudis | Graham demands CIA briefing on Khashoggi | Pentagon identifies three troops killed in Afghanistan MORE (La.), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstSenators offer measure naming Saudi crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi slaying Trump shock leaves Republicans anxious over 2019 Iowa’s Ernst will run for reelection in 2020 MORE (Iowa), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOcasio-Cortez: By Lindsey Graham's 1999 standard for Clinton, Trump should be impeached Senate votes to end US support for Saudi war, bucking Trump Former FBI official says Mueller won’t be ‘colored by politics’ in Russia probe MORE (S.C.), John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoThe Year Ahead: Dems under pressure to deliver on green agenda White House jumps into fight over energy subsidies Clock ticks down on GOP Congress MORE (Wyo.) and Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerAlmost half of US residents don't use broadband internet: study Afghanistan war at a stalemate, top general tells lawmakers Grassley open to legislation making it tougher for Trump to impose tariffs on national security grounds 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 HeitkampHatch warns Senate 'in crisis' in farewell speech Dem senators Heitkamp, Donnelly urge bipartisanship in farewell speeches House passes bipartisan bill aimed at reversing rising maternal mortality rates MORE (N.D.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force Hillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — New momentum for privacy legislation | YouTube purges spam videos | Apple plans B Austin campus | Iranian hackers targeted Treasury officials | FEC to let lawmakers use campaign funds for cyber Manchin puts hold on FCC nomination over wireless internet fund delay 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.