WASHINGTON — Ohio Democrats say they are determined to fight for the 2010 health-care law known as Obamacare in the wake of an ongoing court challenge over whether the individual mandate is constitutional.

Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Joyce Beatty are concerned about comments made by members of a three-judge panel this week on whether the Affordable Care Act could legally stand without the law’s individual mandate, which requires all Americans have health insurance or pay a tax.

The judges weighed in during two hours of oral arguments Tuesday at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as part of a lawsuit supported by the Trump administration. The legal challenge, which seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act, was filed by Texas and 19 other Republican-led states in February 2018 after GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare failed in Congress.

Attorneys general for 20 Democratic led states are fighting the lawsuit. Ohio has not signed onto the suit.

Brown said if Texas and the other GOP states involved in the suit prevail, the Obamacare requirement that insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions as well as Ohio’s Medicaid expansion will disappear.

“We simply don’t know everything that would happen because chaos would be injected into the system,” Brown said. “It’s incredible to me that the president would think to upend the lives of so many people and a health-care system that’s working for many, many of these people.”

Beatty of Jefferson Township near Gahanna called the lawsuit “disastrous,” and vowed that “the fight to defend health care is far from over.”

Her office cited Urban Institute data showing that if the lawsuit is successful, 4.8 million Ohioans with pre-existing conditions could lose the guarantee of health insurance coverage and 741,000 Ohioans would lose health-care coverage. She said 81,000 young Ohio adults could lose the opportunity to stay on their parents’ health insurance.

Susan Halpen, a small business owner and breast cancer survivor from Columbus, said she counts on the pre-existing condition coverage requirement for her own health care.

During a Wednesday press call organized by Brown’s office, Halpen said before the enactment of the 2010 law, she struggled to secure health insurance, and paid a monthly premium of $1,400 a month for herself alone, with a $10,000 deductible.

“I am very aware that without the ACA I will not be able to purchase health insurance for any price,” she said. “Even though my cancer has been in complete remission for over 12 years, I’m still uninsurable.”

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, predicted the case would go to the U.S. Supreme Court, which preserved the law in two separate decisions.

But he said that “even if they were to find the bill unconstitutional, now there’s a bipartisan consensus on particularly handling the issue of pre-existing conditions, and ensuring that nobody loses their health care because they have a pre-existing illness.”

He said it’s “very likely we’ll have bipartisan legislation to ensure that people who have pre-existing conditions get covered,” and said he’s signed on to such a bill.

But Brown said that while he believes a majority of the Senate would favor a bill that would protect pre-existing conditions, he does not believe Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will allow such a measure to get a vote.

McConnell, Brown said, “wants to do nothing to make [the health-care law] work better.”