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Edwards and Landry Offer Bills To Protect Pre-existing Conditions If Obamacare Is Overturned

Wallis Watkins
From left, Nick Lorusso, Chief Deputy of the Louisiana Department of Insurance, Speaker of the House Taylor Barras (R-New Iberia), Attorney General Jeff Landry and State Senator Fred Mills (R-Parks).

Louisiana’s Governor and Attorney General are pushing competing bills this session that would protect health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

“Make no mistake about it, the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, has absolutely been a trainwreck,” said Attorney General Jeff Landry at a Monday press conference about the bill he's backed to address health insurance coverage in Louisiana.

Attorney General Landry is one of 20 Republican elected officials from across the country who signed onto a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act. Late last year, a federal judge in Texas ruled the law unconstitutional.

That ruling is being appealed and the case could potentially end up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Landry believes states should play a bigger role in providing health insurance.

“It gives us an opportunity right here in Louisiana to develop and build a better healthcare system,” he explained.

Governor John Bel Edwards says the lawsuit threatens health insurance coverage for nearly 850,000 people with pre-existing conditions in Louisiana. In a statement last week, Edwards says “it’s ironic that the Attorney General wants to try and take credit for fixing a problem that he himself caused by involving the state in a lawsuit that eliminates protections for people with pre-existing conditions."

Representative Chad Brown (D-Plaquemine) is carrying the health care bill backed by Governor Edwards.

“You have a number of people that, if we do not have protections in place, simply will not be able to acquire insurance, or will not be able to afford it," he said.

The Affordable Care Act is one of many areas where the Democratic governor and Republican attorney general disagree. But the two bills protect many of the same provisions, like pre-existing conditions, and would essentially only be needed if Obamacare is overturned.

Representative Brown says the Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect, "but I’m in support of making sure we have these protections in place."

The bills will be debated during the legislative session that starts Monday.