GOP Senate candidate says he supports pre-existing conditions while backing lawsuit to end them

GOP Senate candidate says he supports pre-existing conditions while backing lawsuit to end them
© The Hill photo illustration

Missouri GOP Senate candidate Josh Hawley says in a new ad that he supports forcing insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, even as he takes part in a lawsuit that would overturn those protections in ObamaCare.

Hawley, Missouri's attorney general, who is running against vulnerable incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillEx-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Ocasio-Cortez blasts NYT editor for suggesting Tlaib, Omar aren't representative of Midwest Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand MORE (D), said in the ad released Monday that his oldest son has a rare chronic disease — a pre-existing condition, he notes.

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"I support forcing insurance companies to cover all pre-existing conditions, and Claire McCaskill knows it," Hawley says in the ad. 

"You deserve a senator who's driven to fix this mess. Not one just trying to hang on to her office." 

But Hawley is part of a coalition of 20 Republican attorneys general suing to overturn ObamaCare

The lawsuit, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, argues that since Congress repealed ObamaCare's individual mandate last year, the rest of the law should be struck down, including protections for those with pre-existing conditions. 

The issue became a hot topic for Democrats ahead of the midterms after the Trump administration declined to defend ObamaCare in court. 

The administration agreed with the attorneys general, arguing that ObamaCare language banning insurers from charging people more or denying them coverage based on a pre-existing condition should be struck down.

Republicans have since scrambled to defend themselves, given the popularity of those provisions. 

McCaskill tweeted Monday that Hawley has nerve to say he supports the protections while participating in a lawsuit against them. 

"He sues to wipe out the protection then 'goes to camera' to say he doesn’t mean it," McCaskill tweeted.

"He knows there are zero protections for pre-existing conditions if his lawsuit is successful." 

Hawley hasn't laid out any policy alternatives to ObamaCare that would force insurers to cover preexisting conditions. 

He didn't elaborate on his position Tuesday, but accused McCaskill of having a Twitter "meltdown." 

"Here’s what nerve is. Holding patients w/ preexisting conditions hostage to Obamacare because you care more about liberal politics than patients’ health," Hawley tweeted. 

"Cross the aisle, Senator. Do what you said you would do. WORK for the people of Missouri." 

McCaskill, earlier this month, announced a campaign intended to rebuke Hawley for his lawsuit targeting Obamacare. The "30 for 30" campaign features stories from Missourians with a pre-existing condition each day for 30 days.