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 McConnellOcasio-Cortez rips Trump in first House floor speech: 'It is not normal to shut down the government when we don’t get what we want' Overnight Health Care: Dem chair plans hearing on Medicare for all | Senate GOP talks drug prices with Trump health chief | PhRMA CEO hopeful Trump reverses course on controversial pricing proposal Supporters leave notes on plaque outside Ocasio-Cortez's office 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) ManchinCentrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter Bipartisan group of senators will urge Trump to reopen government for 3 weeks Leaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight MORE (W-Va.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump AG pick Barr grilled at hearing | Judge rules against census citizenship question | McConnell blocks second House bill to reopen government Ex-Sen. McCaskill joins NBC, MSNBC Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party 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 CruzCongress can stop the war on science O'Rourke blogs from road trip: 'Have been stuck lately. In and out of a funk' Texas governor, top lawmakers tell Trump not to use hurricane relief funds to build border wall 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.