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Sen. Durbin: ‘The Republicans have no alternative to the Affordable Care Act’

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin holds a press conference to speak about DACA at the National Immigrant Justice Center, Tuesday afternoon, April 3, 2018.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

WASHINGTON – In the wake of a Texas judge striking down the Obamacare health insurance law, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., on Sunday said Republicans  “have no alternative to the Affordable Care Act,” which guarantees health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions.

Durbin made his comments in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos and came after the Texas-based U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor voided the 2010 health insurance law.

The judge stayed his ruling pending the certain appeals, so nothing changes for now for consumers who get their insurance through the Affordable Care Act, the signature domestic program of former President Barack Obama.

Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate said, “the Republican attorneys general who brought this lawsuit did not do the Republican Party any favor,” noting that the ongoing push from Republicans to void Obamacare could wipe out the ability of people with pre-existing conditions to buy coverage.

The pre-existing condition issue played a major role in the Democrats winning control last month of the House by picking up 40 seats, Durbin said.

“These Republican attorneys general have set out to abolish this law and to the end of protection for people with a medical history. And now this issue is alive and well again. The Republicans have no alternative to the Affordable Care Act, and they’ve been refusing up until this point to even sit down sit down (to discuss) improvements and changes,” Durbin said.

Trump has made abolishing Obamacare a central goal of his presidency, but in two years has not been able to wipe out the program or replace it with an improved health insurance system that includes popular features, such as coverage of pre-existing conditions.

Democrats have said for years the sweeping Obamacare law – which covers multiple aspects of the health insurance industry – has flaws that need fixing and have been open to changes. Trump on Saturday said he welcomed talks with Democrats, but as a practical matter, nothing will happen in Congress until after Democrats take over the House on Jan. 3.

“You have to look at the history of this president for two years has done everything in his power to put an end to the protections included. Now he’s found a judge in Texas who agrees with him on that position. It has to be appealed for sure. But in the meantime the Republicans will once again face the question, ‘Do you believe we should have health insurance accessible affordable and cover those with preexisting conditions?’” Durbin said.

RELATED: Trump pushes Congress for new health law after Obamacare court ruling