Max NisenIf anyone needed more evidence that Republicans are nervous about health care’s impact on this year’s midterm elections, the president provided it Thursday afternoon.
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump All Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions, and if they don’t, they will after I speak to them. I… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Sent via Twitter for iPhone.
In the real world, President Donald Trump’s Justice Department is arguing in court that the Affordable Care Act’s protections for pre-existing medical conditions are unconstitutional and should be nullified.
(Related: GOP’s Obamacare Suit May Strengthen the Law)
On top of that, his administration explicitly supported a bill passed by House Republicans that would have weakened those protections.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is also trying to have it both ways, claiming this week that Republican Senators universally support protecting people with pre-existing conditions, while voicing his support for the lawsuit and another repeal effort.
Democrats recognize that the GOP is vulnerable and conflicted on health care, and its candidates are devoting millions of dollars worth of ads to it. It’s not the only thing helping to give Democrats a strong chance of taking back the House. But it’s a key driver.
Trump and Sen. McConnell are far from alone in touting their support for protecting pre-existing conditions while having voted or worked to dismantle the ACA. Many other candidates are doing the same tap dance, and are even running ads touting their support for the policy. The GOP candidates for Senate in tight races in Missouri and West Virginia are current attorneys general who are supporting the controversial lawsuit.
It’s easy to see why everybody’s anxious. The ACA’s robust protections for people with pre-existing conditions are highly popular. In a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, more than 70% of Americans agreed that it was “very important” that they remain law.
That gets at the heart of Republicans’ dilemma: It’s one thing to promise an end to Obamacare’s burdensome regulations while vowing to lower premiums and maintain patient protections. But it’s actually a phenomenally difficult policy problem, and the GOP hasn’t offered a proposal that solves it.