These 32 Republicans Voted to Kill Obamacare. Now They Say They’ll Protect Preexisting Conditions.

House members in tight races try to run from their records.

Obamacare supporters rally in Fort Worth, Texas, in September.Max Faulkner/Zuma

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

As the midterm elections approach, Republicans have been ramping up their claims that they want to protect insurance coverage for people with preexisting conditions—essentially endorsing a popular Obamacare provision they’ve repeatedly tried to repeal.

House Republicans have voted to repeal, replace, or wreck the Affordable Care Act more than 50 times since 2011. According to recently released data from the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, 67 Republican members of Congress in close reelection races have voted for at least one of those efforts to undermine Obamacare. Of those, 32 have also said they want to defend the act’s protections for people with preexisting conditions.

Then: Repeal. Now: Protect.
“We wanted to look at the votes where there’s no way they could get around it,” says Will Ragland, CAP’s managing director of communications. Nonetheless, many Republicans have tried to run away from their anti-Obamacare history. Several, including Iowa Rep. David Young and California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, have recently released ads touting their support for people with preexisting conditions. Young and Texas Rep. Pete Sessions have introduced nonbinding resolutions that protections for preexisting conditions should be included in future health care legislation that might undo other parts of Obamacare.

“Republicans seem to have gotten some sort of memo saying they need to stand up for preexisting conditions,” Ragland says. If any had not gotten that message yet, they certainly received it yesterday when President Donald Trump tweeted that Republicans must support protections for preexisting conditions.

Yet Trump has also repeatedly supported policies that would kill those protections

Trump spent most of 2017 championing Republican legislation to repeal Obamacare—bills that would have have allowed insurance companies to make policies unaffordable for people with preexisting conditions. When the House passed a bill last year that would have resulted in 24 million fewer people having health insurance, Trump summoned Speaker Paul Ryan and the rest of House leadership to the White House for a celebration. And earlier this year, the Trump administration signaled its support for an ongoing lawsuit to invalidate Obamacare, including the protections for people with preexisting conditions.

CAP has also released a list of what it calls the “Dirty 3 Dozen”: 36 House incumbents who have voted to fully repeal Obamacare multiple times. Though he has promised to defend preexisting conditions, Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado’s 6th District voted to repeal Obamacare eight times. He represents more than 346,000 people with preexisting conditions, according to CAP. Coffman, Ragland notes, voted against the American Health Care Act, a 2017 Obamacare-replacement bill that would have weakened the protections for preexisting conditions. “Even if they voted no on the AHCA, they can’t get away with saying they voted to protect people with preexisting conditions,” Ragland says.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.