Governor pushes plan to make sure pre-existing conditions are covered

Gov. Edwards calls for support of bill protecting health insurance coverage

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Gov. John Bel Edwards traveled from Baton Rouge to St. Bernard Wednesday, speaking out on a bill designed to keep health insurance coverage intact for thousands of people in case a court rules to shut down Obamacare.

He calls a lawsuit supported by Attorney General Jeff Landry a threat, but Landry has a plan of his own.

“I’m looking forward to working with the Legislature to find bipartisan ground,” said Edwards.

Earlier in the day, Edwards testified before a House committee in support of House Bill 237, a measure to protect patients with pre-existing conditions if a lawsuit to do away with the Affordable Care Act succeeds.

"I'm committed to ensuring that every applicant is not denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition," said Edwards.

Edwards says the bill would protect 850,000 Louisiana residents with pre-existing conditions. He says his own daughter is one of them, and coverage could be in jeopardy if the lawsuit backed by Landry succeeds.

“There’s a misnomer about Republicans don’t care about pre-existing conditions, but that’s not true,” said Landry.

Landry is supporting Senate Bill 173 that he says would also offer protections but cost taxpayers less.

“What SB 173 does is protect pre-existing conditions, by offering free market solutions,” said Landry.

Some say the cost to the state could be high.

“Right now that would be $650 million a year if the tax credits go away, and we would expect rates to go up 50 percent,” said Cory Harvey with Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

But the governor hopes the litigation to do away with the ACA fails, and the costs to the state will never become an issue.

The bill supported by the governor was heard in House committee Wednesday but put back on the table to be taken up again later.

The bill supported by Landry was heard in Senate committee with no action taken.

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