A TV ad by Democrat Richard Cordray in Ohio attacks Republican Mike DeWine for his position on pre-existing conditions as part of the Affordable Care Act.
"If insurance companies do not have to pay for pre-existing conditions my son won’t get the blood thinners he needs," said the woman in the TV ad. "There’s plenty of people that just cannot survive without their medications. When I heard that Mike DeWine wanted to allow insurance companies to refuse to pay for pre-existing conditions it made me sick to my stomach."
DeWine later countered with his own TV ad in which his daughter says DeWine "supports health care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions."
We wanted to fact-check Cordray’s ad to see if DeWine wanted to allow insurance companies to refuse to pay for pre-existing conditions.
Looking over Dewine’s entire record, we find that he was a strong opponent of the Affordable Care Act for years, but now is staking out a more moderate position.
DeWine’s campaign said that he has shown support for pre-existing coverage stretching back to the 1990s when he campaigned for and then won a seat in the U.S. Senate. In 1994, DeWine wrote on a survey by the Ohio Nurses Association that "pre-existing conditions must no longer be a bar to insurance."
For example, in 1996 he voted along with the entire Senate in favor of a health insurance accountability bill that placed limits on pre-existing condition exclusions, among other things.
But as attorney general, DeWine has fought against the federal health care law. On his first day in office in 2011, DeWine joined a multistate lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act.
DeWine called the health care law a "huge federal overreach" because it mandated individuals to purchase insurance or face a penalty. He didn’t mention pre-existing conditions, but the law guarantees coverage for people who have them.
When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in 2012, DeWine said he was disappointed in the outcome.
As attorney general, the first references we could find of DeWine defending pre-existing condition coverage were from this year.
For example, DeWine said during a September gubernatorial debate, "I’ve always been for coverage of people pre-existing illnesses."
More recently, DeWine has not joined either side of a multistate lawsuit filed in a Texas federal court in February by Republican attorney generals and governors. That lawsuit argues that the law is no longer constitutional because Congress gutted the individual mandate as part of the 2017 tax overhaul.
DeWine didn’t join the lawsuit because he believes it's up to Congress to decide whether to repeal Obamacare via that route, his office spokesman Dan Tierney told PolitiFact.
DeWine argues that it’s possible to oppose the law and the mandate, while keeping pre-existing condition coverage. But that’s not what the federal government has said. The Justice Department said in a legal brief that the individual mandate is inseparable from protections for people with pre-existing conditions. That’s because if there were no mandate, people would wait until they were sick to purchase health insurance.
Cordray’s ad said, "Mike DeWine wanted to allow insurance companies to refuse to pay for pre-existing conditions."
DeWine was a strong opponent of the Affordable Care Act, joining a lawsuit to fight against it in 2011. DeWine argues his opposition was over the individual mandate, but if the lawsuit had prevailed it, would have struck down a law that guaranteed coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. This year, while being attacked over his health care record, DeWine said he has favored coverage for pre-existing conditions and pointed to his record decades earlier in the U.S. Senate.
We rate this claim Half True.