Backer of GOP health care bill dodges pre-existing conditions issue

Story highlights

  • Rep. Marsha Blackburn was among the 217 yes votes for the new GOP health care bill.
  • The GOP bill -- titled the American Health Care Act -- is headed to Senate.

Washington (CNN)Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, repeatedly dodged questions about whether the new GOP health care bill will weaken protections for those with pre-existing conditions conditions.

"The goal is to make certain that these individuals have access, better access, more continuation of access," Blackburn told CNN's Brianna Keilar on Friday. "My hope would be that their premiums would not rise."
Critics of the GOP bill -- titled the American Health Care Act -- argue those with pre-existing conditions are the most at risk. The bill, which seeks to replace Obamacare, now heads to Senate.
Blackburn has said multiple times -- both in interviews and in messages to her constituents -- that she believes the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, isn't working.
On Thursday, when Republicans passed the bill with 217 votes, Blackburn issued a statement explaining her yes vote. Her four main points: The new bill will "dismantle the Obamacare taxes," "eliminate the individual and employer mandate penalties," "help young adults access health insurance and stabilize the marketplace," and "guarantee coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions."
When pressed by Keilar, however, Blackburn was less sure about whether those with pre-existing conditions would see their premiums rise under the new bill.
"Individuals are going to see their premiums go down or stabilize. They are going to be able to have access to affordable health care," she said. "The goal, and what we are striving for ... is to have everyone have access to affordable health care. They don't have that right now in the ACA marketplace. The premiums have gone through the roof. What we are doing right now is not working."