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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 McConnellGraham backs bill to protect Mueller Grassley defends acting AG against calls for recusal Former staffers push Congress for action on sexual harassment measure 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) ManchinMellman: The triumph of partisanship Senate GOP readies for leadership reshuffle Schumer’s headaches to multiply in next Congress MORE (W-Va.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMellman: The triumph of partisanship The Memo: Dem hopes for 2020 grow in midterms afterglow Schumer’s headaches to multiply in next Congress 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 CruzIncoming Dem lawmaker from Texas says Nielsen should be replaced as DHS chief Election Countdown: Lawsuits fly in Florida recount fight | Nelson pushes to extend deadline | Judge says Georgia county violated Civil Rights Act | Biden, Sanders lead 2020 Dem field in poll | Bloomberg to decide on 2020 by February Poll: Biden and Sanders lead 2020 Dem field, followed by Beto O'Rourke 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.