McConnell defends Trump-backed lawsuit against ObamaCare

McConnell defends Trump-backed lawsuit against ObamaCare
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellConservatives wage assault on Mueller report Overnight Energy: Interior reverses decision at heart of Zinke criminal probe | Dem divisions deepen over approach to climate change | GM to add 400 workers to build electric cars Trump: Green New Deal 'the most preposterous thing' and 'easy to beat' MORE (R-Ky.) defended the Trump administration’s decision to join a lawsuit that seeks to overturn ObamaCare and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

“It’s no secret that we preferred to start over" to repeal and replace Obamacare, McConnell said in a newly published interview with Bloomberg. “So no, I don’t fault the administration for trying to give us an opportunity to do this differently and to go in a different direction.”

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The lawsuit was filed by leaders in Texas, along with 19 other Republican state attorneys general, and calls for all of ObamaCare to be overturned as unconstitutional. The Trump administration is supporting the states in court, arguing specifically that the sections of the law protecting people with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage or charged more should be overturned.

Democrats have made the case a signature issue in the midterm elections, especially vulnerable red-state candidates like Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinManchin says he won't support LGBTQ protection bill as written Senators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law Murkowski, Manchin call for 'responsible solutions' to climate change MORE (W-Va.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillLobbying world Dem candidate has Hawley served subpoena at CPAC Annual scorecard ranks GOP environmental efforts far below Dems in 2018 MORE (Mo.). They’ve been blasting Republicans over the lawsuit, and warning that their GOP opponents want to abolish popular protections for pre-existing conditions.

Republicans in tight races recognize their vulnerability on pre-existing conditions and have sought to alter their positions on the issue. Multiple Republicans, including most recently Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCNN town halls put network at center of Dem primary The Memo: Trump can't let go of McCain grudge Michael Bennet is close to deciding on possible presidential bid MORE (Texas), have softened their stance.

But the argument they are making has been complicated by their party’s repeated efforts to repeal ObamaCare, including pre-existing conditions protections.

McConnell said he sees no problem in Republicans trying to use the courts to accomplish their goal of repealing ObamaCare.

“Nothing wrong with going to court. Americans do it all the time; we can do it, too," he said.

The Kentucky Republican also said he was not concerned about the lawsuit being a liability on the campaign trail.

“Our candidates are able to deal with it,” McConnell said in the interview. "There’s nobody in the Senate that I’m familiar with who is not in favor of coverage of pre-existing conditions."

Republicans have introduced some bills in Congress that they argue would be able to protect people with pre-existing conditions if the law is struck down. Critics say none of the bills go far enough, and they still allow insurers to charge unaffordable rates for people with pre-existing conditions.