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Missouri Senate nominee misleads on his pre-existing condition hypocrisy

State Attorney General Josh Hawley is leading the effort to destroy one of the most popular parts of Obamacare.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) with Donald Trump in September
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) with Donald Trump in September CREDIT: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Josh Hawley, the Republican nominee against Missouri’s US senator Claire McCaskill (D), has made protecting people with pre-existing conditions a key part of his campaign platform — even as he undermines those protections as his state’s attorney general.

Asked to reconcile that hypocrisy on Sunday, Hawley pretended that requiring that insurance companies offer some policy to the more than 100 million Americans with pre-existing medical conditions is the same as making sure those policies are actually affordable.

On NBC’s Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd pressed Hawley about his role in the latest lawsuit attempting to destroy the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, and its specific provisions that make sure insurers do not discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions.

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“Congress should mandate it. My position is: insurance companies should be required, by law, to protect folks with pre-existing conditions,” Hawley proposed. “People like my own little boy, who has a pre-existing condition, should be covered under the law. But apart from Obamacare. We don’t have to have Obamacare to do it.”

But Hawley’s comments are highly misleading. It is one thing to pass a law that requires that insurers offer some sort of coverage to those Americans with a pre-existing condition — it is quite another to prohibit them from discriminating against those higher-risk customers with massively gouged prices.

By covering a wider pool of Americans, Obamacare made it possible to not only require insurance companies to offer coverage to everyone, but also to do so without price discrimination. Hawley’s stand-alone idea would not be able to do the second part and would mean that his son could get insurance — but it might cost 50 times what others pay.