DeWine, Yost pledge to protect Obamacare’s pre-existing conditions coverage


Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost wants a federal appeals court to preserve coverage for pre-existing conditions amid a challenge to the Affordable Care Act. (Kevin Stankiewicz/Dispatch)

 
Despite President Donald Trump’s effort to dump Obamacare in its entirety, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost plans to argue in federal court that mandated insurance coverage for pre-existing health conditions should be preserved amid a legal fight over the Affordable Care Act.

A U.S. District Court judge in Texas threw out the entire Affordable Care Act in December, finding it unconstitutional as a result of Congress eliminating the tax penalty for failing to obtain health insurance.

Yost said his office will file a friend-of-the-court brief in the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals contending that the individual mandate provision can be excised from the Affordable Care Act without eliminating its requirement that insurers

“I agree that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, but I strongly disagree that it justifies throwing out all of ACA and abandoning millions of Ohioans,” Yost said in a statement Wednesday.

“The impact to Ohioans is far too great to let judicial activism jeopardize our citizens’ health and well-being,” the Republican said.

Yost criticized the ruing in a suit brought by some states to throw out the Affordable Care Act, saying it was based on “magical thinking” by trying to divine the intent of members of Congress. Yost argues the lawmakers expressly left coverage for pre-existing coverage and other provisions in law when it eliminated the individual mandate penalty.

The Trump administration said this week it supports the total overthrow of the health care legislation and asked the 5th Circuit to uphold the lower court ruling.

Gov. Mike DeWine pledged Tuesday that he would ensure Ohioans with pre-existing conditions can still access affordable health coverage should Obamacare be overturned as unconstitutional.

But just how the first-year Republican would do that and how much it could cost remains unclear.

“If the federal law changes, the governor would seek legislation to protect those who would be affected by gaps in coverage,” said DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney.

“It’s a hypothetical situation, but if this were to happen, the governor would sit down with the Department of Insurance (and others) to determine what they could do.”

DeWine first made the pledge during his 2018 campaign for governor as coverage for pre-existing conditions became a significant issue in his race against Democrat Richard Cordray.
 
 
Randy Ludlow, Catherine Candisky, The Columbus Dispatch, March 28, 2019
DeWine, Yost Pledge to Protect Obamacare’s pre-existing conditions coverage