Republicans who have tried to repeal Obamacare for nearly a decade believe the Trump administration is reviving a politically risky battle with a court filing that could eliminate one of the most popular parts of the law: protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
The administration wants a federal court to strike the protections, providing fresh fodder to Democrats who argue that the GOP cannot be trusted to protect Americans’ health insurance months ahead of a midterm election in which health care was already a top issue. It also threatens to shift attention away from the GOP’s message on tax cuts, refocusing it on an Obamacare fight most Republicans wanted to put behind them.
The administration late Thursday asked a U.S. District Court in Texas to do something congressional Republicans weren’t willing to take on themselves during last year’s repeal effort: Strike the most popular part of Obamacare.
Few congressional Republicans rushed to defend the administration’s move Friday, instead emphasizing their support for preserving pre-existing condition protections.
“I’m not going to have to defend anything I don’t agree with — regardless of who says it,” said Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee when asked if he would defend the administration’s request on the campaign trail this fall. He added that rising premiums for Obamacare coverage will force lawmakers to address health care policy next year.