VP Pence AG jeff landry

Vice President Mike Pence chats with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry during a meeting at the White House. (Photo via AG Jeff Landry)

Amid the raucous debate over the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, one provision of the health care law has been widely popular — the ban on excluding from insurance policies people with pre-existing medical conditions.

And now it’s an issue in the Legislature, because an opponent of Obamacare — Attorney General Jeff Landry — took it upon himself to join in a lawsuit from Republican-led states to kill the Affordable Care Act.

Oops. That would mean no more protection for anybody seeking insurance who might have high blood pressure, or diabetes, or any of a hundred other conditions.

Now, both the attorney general and Gov. John Bel Edwards have pushed bills in the Legislature to at least mitigate the damage if the lawsuit is successful. It's not clear if that will actually work: The bills have drawn legitimate criticism because they are divorcing the Obamacare provisions from the federal funding that accompanies that law.

Almost needless to say, in a government that cannot pay for all its kids to go to preschool, or pave its roads, or do a myriad other things, Louisiana can’t afford to go it alone in the realm of health care.

Heck, most families with private insurance are sorely pressed by health care costs these days.

We understand the political motivations of Edwards and Landry, who are seeking re-election in October and are trying to make hay of this issue. Despite GOP criticism, Edwards expanded Medicaid insurance coverage for the working poor — another part of the Affordable Care Act — and he wants to ding Landry for his lawsuit.

We think Landry deserves some criticism, as this kind of political privateering by an attorney general reflects a policy failure as well as pandering to one’s hard-core voter base.

But Louisiana is not alone. Elected attorneys general in other states have also filed lawsuits that occasionally aren’t coordinated — or, as in this case, totally uncoordinated — with other leaders. That reflects a failure of a process that should be governed by common sense and consultation. We wonder if any level of government has not now descended into political gamesmanship.

Landry's preferred bill won initial passage by the Senate and Edwards' favored bill was rejected in House committee. But we hope that policy, not politics will govern the consideration of the Landry-backed bill by Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks. It's too easy to get this complicated stuff wrong.