U.S. Sen. Doug Jones says Alabama will be hurt by Obamacare repeal, rivals for his Senate seat disagree

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- A federal appeals court in New Orleans heard arguments this week on the fate of the Affordable Care Act – otherwise known as Obamacare -- and U.S. Sen. Doug Jones says a ruling striking down the law will hurt Alabama.

A number of state attorney's general, including Alabama’s want the law struck down and filed a lawsuit in 2018.

Jones, a Democrat whose seat is up for election in 2020, toured the state last week

"Hearing from folks about how we can improve access to health care in Alabama," he said during a conference call Thursday. "Let me tell you, the one thing that everyone agreed on is that we need to be making it easier for people to get the health care they need, not harder."

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has argued the Affordable Care Act is not affordable and says the law should be struck down.

Jones disagrees.

"I cannot emphasize enough how much this lawsuit would hurt people who rely on health care coverage made possible by this law," he said.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore’s Foundation for Moral Law filed a brief in support of the lawsuit. Moore favors repeal, his campaign said.

"Judge Moore is in favor of (repeal), it is not affordable, insurance rates have skyrocketed and it hurts business," according to his campaign.

Jones says that could harm plenty of people in Alabama.

"More than 166,000 Alabamians could lose their health insurance," he said.

Senate candidates U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Mobile, and former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville both say they favor repeal and a free-market solution.

Byrne voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and wants to see it replaced with the American Healthcare Act, his campaign said.

"Bradley is leading the charge to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a system that actually works. Too many Alabama families have been hurt by Obamacare, and it is time we replace it with a free market solution that isn't run by the government," said Seth Morrow, Byrne's campaign spokesman.

Jones said he worries about who’ll not be covered.

"One-third of people under the age of 65 in Alabama, more than 942,000 people have a pre-existing condition and could be denied coverage or charged so much more for their health care," Jones said.

Secretary of State John Merrill, the most recent candidate to enter the Senate race,  has expressed his support for President Trump, who’s called for a repeal of Obamacare.

Jones contends repeal supporters aren't offering a real alternative.

"You know certainly you had 'repeal, repeal,' what’s interesting about those is you don’t have, 'replace' replace.' You’ve got nothing, that’s the biggest problem that we have here."

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