There’s a serious lawsuit pending in a federal court in Texas right now that hopes to gut the Affordable Care Act, with protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions hanging in the balance. The anti-health-care case was brought by 20 Republican state attorneys general and the Republican governors from Maine and Mississippi.
One of the 20 states that filed the case was Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker (R), currently running for a third consecutive term, signed off on state Attorney General Brad Schimel (R) joining a multi-state litigation. It made this Associated Press report all the more notable.
Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign says he would call a special session of the Legislature if necessary to pass a bill guaranteeing health insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
That guarantee is already provided under the federal health care law Walker wants to see repealed. But the Republican says he likes that provision and earlier this year called on the state Legislature to enact a protection. The bill did not pass.
Walker spokesman Brian Reisinger says Friday that “if something were to change” and people with pre-existing conditions were no longer covered in Wisconsin, “Walker would call a special session in a heartbeat and get it passed.”
This is a curious posture. Walker has long opposed “Obamacare” and has called for its repeal. The Republican governor also supports the lawsuit that would strip Americans of protections they currently enjoy.
And Walker also wants voters to know that if the case he supports succeeds, he’ll also scramble to rescue the families hurt by the outcome he wants. It sounds a bit like the governor has a torch in one hand and a bucket of water in the other – and Walker wants the public to know that whatever fire he helps start he’ll also try to put out.
We’re nevertheless seeing related developments elsewhere. In Missouri, state Attorney General Josh Hawley (R), running in one of the nation’s most competitive U.S. Senate races, was only too pleased to join the anti-ACA lawsuit earlier this year. Now that families are starting to worry about the punishments the case will impose, however, Hawley “won’t offer details about his role in the Republican lawsuit.”
The GOP candidate says he supports protections for those with pre-existing conditions, even as his case tries to take those protections away.
Meanwhile, in Michigan, state Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) has spent years crusading against the Affordable Care Act. Last week, the Republican gubernatorial hopeful assured voters that Medicaid expansion under the health care law is “not going anywhere.”
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R), who’s also running for governor this year, recently completed an even more dramatic reversal on the issue.
The politics of health care in 2018 are unrecognizable compared to 2010 – and this time, it’s obvious it’s Republicans who are on the defensive.