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Former HHS Secretary Blasts Mike DeWine Over Health Care Fight

Ross D. Franklin
Associated Press
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in 2014.

Former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who headed the agency implemented the Affordable Care Act in 2010, spent the day in her home state of Ohio.

Her visit came as part of an effort by Democrats to target Republicans like gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine. DeWine has sued to overturn the federal health care law, which requires health insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

There’s no question what side former Sebelius is on.

“NFIB v. Sebelius, the lawsuit that Mike DeWine joined – I am the Sebelius,” she says. “So this is personal.”

Sebelius is a former Kansas governor and the daughter of Ohio’s late governor John Gilligan. And she said even though coverage for pre-existing conditions is covered by federal law, governors have a role to play.

“In a number of states, the state has stepped up and said, in the event that the Affordable Care Act is struck down, we will make sure that no policy is ever sold which does not afford people protections against pre-existing conditions,” Sebelius said.

DeWine says he was opposed to the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, but that he’s voted several times for pre-existing conditions protections. However, DeWine chose to not defend the protections in court, after 20 states sued the federal government to overturn the mandate.

Around 5 million Ohioans would be affected if pre-existing conditions were no longer protected.