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Alaska senators express support for pre-existing coverage protections, in wake of ruling on Obamacare

  • Author: Alex DeMarban
  • Updated: December 15, 2018
  • Published December 15, 2018

Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Saturday reiterated her support for provisions of the Affordable Care Act, including the one requiring insurers to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions, after a Texas judge’s ruling on Friday that the law is unconstitutional.

“This ruling has no immediate impact and I am confident higher courts will review the decision," she said in a prepared statement to reporters.

“Regardless, we must preserve the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that have benefited so many, such as protections for pre-existing conditions that prevent insurers from arbitrarily denying coverage,” she said.

Sen. Dan Sullivan’s office said on Saturday he has pushed numerous times to repeal and replace the act with one that among other benefits preserves “a strong safety net for people with pre-existing conditions, works toward a system where insurance can be bought across state lines, (and) encourages patient-centered care."

“Sullivan will continue to review this court case and evaluate its impacts as it undoubtedly moves forward in the legal system,” said the statement emailed by Matt Shuckerow, a Sullivan spokesman.

Murkowski famously broke ranks with most of her Republican colleagues last year, rejecting a measure that would have repealed and replaced the act that’s often called “Obamacare.”

Reed O’Connor, a U.S. District judge in Texas nominated by George W. Bush, ruled in favor of Texas and partner states Friday when he declared the act unconstitutional.

Murkowski and Senate colleagues this summer proposed a measure she says would guarantee Americans equal health care coverage, regardless of their health status or pre-existing conditions, although critics asserted the measure didn’t live up to lawmakers' promises.

Murkowski on Saturday said she understands that access to affordable, quality health care is critically important for Alaskans. She doesn’t “support pulling the rug out from under people,” she said.

“I want to give Alaskans, and all Americans, the certainty they need that protections for those with pre-existing conditions will remain intact, which is why I support legislation to make certain no one loses coverage based on health status,” she said.

Rep. Don Young could not immediately be reached on Saturday. He has supported legislation that would repeal and replace Obamacare, but preserve protections for pre-existing conditions, his web page says.


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