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DeWine Defends Coverage For Pre-Existing Conditions, But Not In Court

Ohio Republican Governor candidate Mike DeWine speaks while running mate Jon Husted looks on.
John Minchillo
Associated Press

Gov. John Kasich insists that Ohio needs to fight to protect coverage for pre-existing conditions in the Affordable Care Act. Nearly 5 million Ohioans could be affected if that requirement were tossed out.

“Because you got sick is no reason for you to be bankrupted, is no reason for you to be living a life of panic because somebody decided because you had a preexisting condition you shouldn’t get health care,” Kasich said in June.

Attorney General Mike DeWine, who’s running on the Republican ticket for governor, announced last week that he plans to keep Medicaid expansion, albeit with work requirements. Keeping Medicaid expansion, which covers 700,000 Ohioans, has been a major platform for Kasich, but DeWine had long said it’s unsustainable.

DeWine’s running mate, Secretary of State Jon Husted, had another apparent change in plan to announce.

“Mike DeWine and Jon Husted support coverage for pre-existing medical conditions,” Husted said. “Health insurance needs to be there when patients need it the most.”

In February, a group of 20 states sued the federal government to overturn Obamacare’s pre-existing conditions mandate. Though the Trump administration says it will not fight for the law, several states stepped up to defend it. Ohio is not one of them.

Democratic governor candidate Richard Cordray called on DeWine to defend the mandate in court. But a spokesman for the Attorney General’s office says Ohio will stay out, because changes to the law should be addressed by Congress.

DeWine’s office said he doesn’t agree with the defense of Obamacare in its entirety or in the restoration of the individual mandate’s tax penalty.

In May, Kasich administration was denied a waiver to end the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, after failing to show the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that enough Ohioans would maintain access to affordable care.