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 TillisSenators zero in on shadowy court at center of IG report Democrats spend big to put Senate in play Group of veterans call on lawmakers to support impeachment, 'put country over politics' 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The lawsuit filed by some Republican states argues that ObamaCare is now unconstitutional because Congress last year repealed the 2010 health-care law's penalty associated with not having insurance.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 MurkowskiIs a trap being set for Trump in the Senate trial? The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial 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 AlexanderTrump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Turf war derails push on surprise medical bills | Bill would tax e-cigarettes to pay for anti-vaping campaign | .5M ad blitz backs vulnerable Dems on drug prices Turf war derails bipartisan push on surprise medical bills MORE (Tenn.), Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley urges White House to help farmers in year-end tax talks The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday MORE (Iowa), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerDemocrats spend big to put Senate in play This week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign MORE (Nev.), Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyThis bipartisan plan is the most progressive approach to paid parental leave Obstacles remain for deal on surprise medical bills Key House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills MORE (La.), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstWhite House makes push for paid family leave and child care reform Houston police chief stands by criticism of McConnell, Cruz, Cornyn: 'This is not political' Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (Iowa), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Graham invites Giuliani to testify about recent Ukraine trip MORE (S.C.), John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoLife after Yucca Mountain: The time has come to reset US nuclear waste policy Trump announces restart to Taliban peace talks in surprise Afghanistan visit Centrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda MORE (Wyo.) and Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerLet's enact a privacy law that advances economic justice There's a lot to like about the Senate privacy bill, if it's not watered down Trade deal talks expand as Congress debates tech legal shield 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 HeitkampPro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA The Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Trump wins 60 percent approval in rural areas of key states MORE (N.D.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial McConnell: I doubt any GOP senator will vote to impeach Trump Manchin warns he'll slow-walk government funding bill until he gets deal on miners legislation 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.