Donald Trump and other Republicans are now running around telling voters that they support protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
“And Republicans only will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions. We’re going to protect it.”
This is a flat-out lie.
Republicans want to repeal Obamacare, and have stated that they will try to repeal Obamacare again if they win seats in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a Wednesday interview with Reuters that if Republicans “had the votes to completely start over, we’d do it.”
“I think at the end of the day we end up with 53, 54 seats. If we can do that, then we can repeal and replace and change the ACA as we know it today,” Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) said earlier this spring.
And Vice President Mike Pence made a similar argument while campaigning for Wisconsin Senate nominee Leah Vukmir in August, saying, “We made an effort to fully repeal and replace Obamacare and we’ll continue, with Leah Vukmir in the Senate, we’ll continue to go back to that.”
This plan of action by the Republicans in the Senate would repeal coverage protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Recall that prior to the enactment of Obamacare, health insurance companies were able to deny coverage to people with a pre-existing condition, and their definition of a pre-existing condition was rather loose:
In 39 states, listed here , insurers can turn down anyone for virtually any reason. It can be because you have a pre-existing condition, like cancer or diabetes. And pregnancy almost always counts too, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which represents the state government officials who regulate insurance sold within their borders. So if you’re pregnant and living in one of these 39 states, you’re very likely out of luck in securing individual health coverage. You’ll have to pay for your care out of your own pocket or seek out charitable assistance.
Obamacare mandated that health insurance companies could no longer deny coverage to people with a pre-existing condition for plans purchased on the Healthcare.gov marketplace, or for Medicaid or CHIP plans.
All Marketplace plans must cover treatment for pre-existing medical conditions.
- No insurance plan can reject you, charge you more, or refuse to pay for essential health benefits for any condition you had before your coverage started.
- Once you’re enrolled, the plan can’t deny you coverage or raise your rates based only on your health.
- Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) also can’t refuse to cover you or charge you more because of your pre-existing condition.
These Healthcare.gov marketplace plans are what Republicans have tried repeatedly to kill by repealing Obamacare. Killing these plans and the Obamacare mandates would allow health insurance companies to again deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions on the individual market. It’s that simple.
In fact, the short-term medical plans that Donald Trump has been hyping as his administration’s “new plans” are not actually new plans at all, and allow health insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.
The Trump administration’s efforts to allow health insurers to market short-term medical plans as a cheap alternative to the Affordable Care Act are already running into headwinds, with state insurance regulators resisting the sales and state governments moving to restrict them.
State insurance regulators, gathered over the past three days for a meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, expressed deep concern that short-term plans were being aggressively marketed in ways likely to mislead consumers. Many said the plans, which need not comply with the Affordable Care Act’s coverage mandates, were a poor substitute for comprehensive insurance.
“These are substandard products,” sold on the premise that “junk insurance is better than nothing” for people who cannot afford comprehensive coverage, Troy J. Oechsner, a deputy superintendent at the New York Department of Financial Services, told the insurers.
Short-term plans do not have to cover prescription drugs, maternity care, mental health services or pre-existing conditions, which must be covered by Affordable Care Act plans.
All of the GOP’s other proposed solutions for health care have involved supposed “free market” solutions that would also allow health insurance companies to exclude coverage for services due to a pre-existing condition.
The bill also provides for pre-existing condition exclusions. In other words, insurance companies would need to cover someone, but could exclude services associated with the pre-existing condition.
“So-called ‘pre-existing condition exclusions’ were common in individual market insurance policies before the ACA, and are also typical in current short-term policies. The new Republican bill would allow them, making guaranteed access to insurance something of a mirage.”
The Republican party does not support a government mandate that prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to people with a pre-existing condition. All of their proposed solutions for health care involve supposed “free market” solutions that would allow health insurance companies to exclude coverage for services due to a pre-existing condition. They have proven this over and over and over again. Now they are lying about it.