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Democrats Unite to Begin Push to Protect Pre-Existing Condition Coverage

Rogue Valley

Ruscism = Russian fascism
DP Veteran
Apr 18, 2013
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Democrats Unite to Begin Push to Protect Pre-Existing Condition Coverage


Elena Hung, who helped found a child advocacy group known as Little Lobbyists, with her daughter, Xiomara,
and Representative Nancy Pelosi in 2017.

WASHINGTON — Democrats, claiming a mandate from voters, opened a legislative campaign on Wednesday to secure protections under the Affordable Care Act for people with pre-existing medical conditions, putting aside divisions over a more ambitious push for “Medicare for all” in favor of shoring up existing law. “Health care was the single most important issue to voters in the 2018 election,” said Representative Anna G. Eshoo, Democrat of California, as she convened a hearing on a decision by a federal district judge in Texas that would invalidate the entire law. In the court case, filed by Texas and 19 other states, the Trump administration has refused to defend provisions of the Affordable Care Act that protect people with pre-existing conditions. But in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, he said it was now important “to protect patients with pre-existing conditions.” More than any other issue, health care was the policy that united Democratic campaigns last fall, specifically a promise to protect existing law that prohibits insurance companies from charging higher premiums or blocking coverage for customers with pre-existing medical conditions. Now in charge of the House, Democrats are divided over how far and how fast to go to expand health insurance coverage — and whether to push for a single, government-run system like Medicare for all. But some lawmakers have expressed impatience with the pace of legislative efforts on the one issue they agree on: protecting pre-existing condition coverage.

Experts and ordinary citizens told Congress on Wednesday that Mr. Trump’s position in the Texas court case could be devastating to some patients. “Families like mine — families with medically complex children — are terrified of what this lawsuit may mean for our kids,” said Elena Hung, whose 4-year-old daughter was born with chronic medical conditions that affect her lungs, heart and kidneys. Representative Lauren Underwood, a freshman Democrat from Illinois, introduced a bill to increase protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Ms. Eshoo, the chairwoman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health, said she would hold a hearing on it next week. The bill would overturn a Trump administration rule that has allowed the proliferation of short-term health insurance policies. The policies are allowed to deny coverage or charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions. And they often omit coverage of prescription drugs, mental health care and other benefits guaranteed as essential by the Affordable Care Act. Under the Affordable Care Act, employers generally cannot impose a waiting period for coverage of pre-existing conditions. The law requires employers to cover health screenings and other preventive services at no cost to employees, and it prohibits annual and lifetime limits on benefits. California and other states that support the Affordable Care Act have appealed the decision in the Texas case by Judge Reed O’Connor of Federal District Court in Fort Worth.

Godspeed to the Democrats on this.

I would like everyone to remember that during 2017, both the GOP-majority House and the GOP-majority Senate attempted to pass healthcare legislation (AHCA/BRCA) that would terminate the ACA protections of pre-existing conditions. This GOP assault on pre-existing conditions failed by only 1 vote ... that of the late GOP Senator McCain. One of the reasons why Trump still detests John McCain.

In addition, just before the 2018 midterms while GOP Reps and Senators up for reelection were conveniently praising protections for pre-existing conditions, a dozen Republican Attorney's General from different states were suing the ACA in Federal court. If the GOP majority Congress couldn't pass legislation to terminate the ACA protections of pre-existing conditions, the Republicans figured they could use the courts to do their dirty work. Remember this treachery come 2020.
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