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Republicans Hit With Pre-Existing Conditions

by Axios | Updated on 10.29.18

Vulnerable Republican incumbents face an awkward question on health care: "You say in your campaign that you're committed to protecting insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions; what do you make of the fact that the Trump Justice Department is currently arguing in court to strike down the law forcing insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions?"

Why this matters: Polls consistently show health care is a top issue for midterm voters. Republicans are already on their heels on this issue — a reversal from the previous eight years of easy campaigning against Obamacare — and the Justice Department position pits them face-to-face with an inconvenient reality.


Over the weekend, my colleague Alexi McCammond posed that very question to Republicans Mike Coffman (CO-06), John Culberson (TX-07), Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), Mimi Walters (CA-45), Pete Stauber (MN-08), Kevin Cramer (challenging for North Dakota Senate), Josh Hawley (challenging for Missouri Senate), Martha McSally (challenging for Arizona Senate), Leah Vukmir (challenging for Wisconsin Senate) and Mike Braun (challenging for Indiana Senate).

Of the Republicans who replied, their responses were strikingly similar: All want to mandate that insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions, but only one of them disavowed the Justice Department's position.

Some examples:

  • Josh Hawley, who is one of the Republican attorneys general trying to get the whole Affordable Care Act (including pre-existing conditions protections) thrown out: His press secretary Kelli Ford told Axios that "Josh wants Congress to mandate that insurance companies cover everyone with pre-existing conditions. Senator Claire McCaskill would have you believe that the only way to do it is through Obamacare. That's a lie...Josh is committed to covering those with pre-existing conditions, and we don't have to break the Constitution to do it."
  • Carlos Curbelo: His campaign spokeswoman Joanna Rodriguez told Axios that "if Congress must take action to ensure these protections remain intact, he looks forward to joining colleagues from either side of the aisle to do whatever is necessary."

The outlier: The only Republican on that list who said he opposed the Justice Department's position was Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman. His spokesman Tyler Sandberg told Alexi "he's opposed to any attempt to get rid of pre-existing condition protections" and pointed out that he voted against the Republican Obamacare repeal bill due to the addition of an amendment weakening pre-existing condition protections.

  • When Alexi asked Sandberg to clarify that his opposition also included the DoJ position, he replied: "Yes."

-Jonathan Swan, Alexi McCammond

Axios

Written by Axios

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(49)
  • dvstinjames
    10/29/2018
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    It’s immoral to not cover people with pre-existing conditions. Humanity over profits. Anything else is unequivocally heinous.

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  • Hillary
    10/29/2018
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    The reason the ACA has a clause about pre existing conditions is because insurance companies only want to collect money-not pay it out. The ACA says that they are prohibited from refusing to cover pre existing conditions AND that insurance is barred from charging extra for those pre existing conditions. Republican reps who claim to protect pre existing conditions never mention what that coverage will now cost. It will be like high risk car insurance only it will mean life or death to consumers who can’t afford to buy it.

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  • Robert
    10/30/2018
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    Republicans never have been in favor of programs that support human needs. Not Medicaid, Medicare, or Social Security. They have tried to eliminate the ACA from day one. Why are they saying they now support having pre-existing conditions in insurance plans? Because they know how important it is to people to have this coverage and they lie about their position as elections near. DO NOT VOTE FOR A REPUBLICAN. They do not care about people’s medical needs. Their voting records prove it.

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  • Donna
    10/29/2018
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    Until the American voters refuse to believe the lies and rhetoric spewing from the mouths of people ELECTED TO REPRESENT US, the political game will not change. I am sorry if these politicians all got caught in lies, but there is a very simple answer to the current dilemma in which they find themselves - they could own up to the fact that they oppose this policy and let the chips fall where they may. It is unconscionable that these people can, with a straight face, lie to constituents in an attempt to save their jobs or get themselves a promotion to a higher position of PUBLIC SERVICE. For the umpteenth time, the American public IS NOT STUPID. We do not only listen to the words you speak thinking it is what we want to hear. We also pay very close attention to your votes and your actions. Outright, venial hypocrisy should have no place in Public Service to the citizens of this country. I wouldn't mind so much if you actually HAD a plan to ensure those of us depending on this coverage were protected. You have proven over the last two years you clearly do not nor do you care. Lying to cover up that fact does not make it true - even in this era of post-truths and alternative facts.

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  • KansasTamale
    10/29/2018
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    You should be ashamed to say you are protecting people’s right to healthcare insurance no matter the pre-existing conditions when you tried to get rid of the ACA 70 TIMES & have chopped up the healthcare insurance, stopped advertising where to get the insurance and shortening the length of time for signing up. THE US IS THE ONLY 1st or 2nd WORLD COUNTRY WITHOUT HEALTHCARE FOR ALL. Even many 3rd World Countries are ahead of us. Healthcare is the MOST IMPORTANT thing on people’s minds.

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  • Mindful
    10/29/2018
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    These Trump sycophants-Republicans en masse reflect the identical known Truth of their cult leader, THEY LIE. We know that they attempted 70x’s to Repeal ACA-Obamacare including “pre-existing medical conditions “. Now they’re lying through their teeth feigning support. Don’t be hoodwinked. Vote them out of Office. We also know who-DEMOCRATS will ensure that Pre-existing Conditions remain to the benefit of us all. Vote them In Office. Do you have a “Pre-existing Condition”?

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  • Mike
    10/29/2018
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    After 70 attempts to “repeal” to get rid of the ACA, these sleazy republican politicians have the gall to stand up and LIE that they support pre-existing conditions protections. Mitch McConnell ADMITTED on TV that if they keep power after the mid terms they will try to repeal it again! They take after Trump, LIE and keep Lying and hope no one checks on what they really did!

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  • Leslie
    10/29/2018
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    Dropped REPUBLICANS LYING AGAIN & AGAIN & AGAIN! IT NEVER STOPS! THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO RUN FOR OFFICE SHOULD BE POOR, REALLY FREAKING POOR!

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  • I.Got.an.Idea...
    10/29/2018
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    The ONLY reason the ACA was created, is because Republicans have continually declined to assist in protecting any Citizen’s right to healthcare protections. Republicans have continually wrote legislation to strip employees of healthcare coverage. Republicans have driven the cost of healthcare so high, that 90% of Americans cannot afford healthcare and what they could afford , did not cover anything. Republicans are all “flip-floppers “. Every single Republican voted against any healthcare coverage, since the dawn of The United States of America, before they said they are for a specific piece of the coverage, that appears to be the most important and the most desired. That’s because, as we age, most people will eventually have a pre-existing condition that will not be covered by Republican’s legislation if healthcare. Republicans also try to re-classify ailments so that they will not be covered.

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  • burrkitty
    10/30/2018
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    Profiting of the sick is immoral. Universal single payer healthcare now!!

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  • Ann
    10/29/2018
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    No one could get insurance who is over age 25. Most people have had something wrong with them.

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  • David
    10/29/2018
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    Wait, Republicans held responsible for their words?! What reality is this?

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  • Riley
    10/29/2018
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    Fake news, Trump won't allow that

    Like (4)
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  • Amy
    10/30/2018
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    Healthcare for all. No pre-existing conditions clause. Women choose for their own bodies!

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  • Rob
    10/29/2018
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    The President and Republican Party have communicated that they seek a healthcare solution that addresses pre-existing conditions. Regardless, as a middle class citizen who spent close to two years on Obamacare, I know first hand how this insurance attributes disproportionate costs for poor coverage. This is because much of the premium is used to fund those who contribute much less. It should be possible to find healthcare through the elimination of subsidies being given to 22 million illegal aliens harbored in our country. I am supportive of welfare, SNAP, and other assistance being used as intended which is as a temporary leg up for legal citizens. I am also supportive of legal immigration.

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  • Richard
    10/30/2018
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    Typical pre-election ploy of trump whouse. Lie, then deny. The republicans have wanted to dump pre-existing conditions from any health care coverage requirement. Don’t believe a word they say now.

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  • Steve
    10/30/2018
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    Health insurance is useless unless it covers preexisting conditions. Single payer, mandatory health care is necessary.

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  • Brian
    10/30/2018
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    It's been how many years since the ACA (Obamacare) went into effect, and the Republican party still has no solid plan to replace it. They can't be bothered to write meaningful legislation that would prove to us that they will cover pre-existing conditions while enabling all Americans to afford healthcare. They don't have solutions; they just want to stand in the way.

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  • Nancy
    10/30/2018
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    LIARS JUST LIKE TRUMP---PATHETIC

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  • Mitchell
    10/30/2018
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    Medical care should not be denied to Americans based on pre-existing conditions that they had no control over in the first place.

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