Washington DC – In response to last night’s Senate debate between Marsha Blackburn and Phil Bredesen, Protect Our Care issued the following statement from Dr. Thomas Phelps:
“Representative Marsha Blackburn wants to have it both ways: she says she supports protections for Tennesseans with pre-existing conditions, but her voting record shows otherwise. Rep. Blackburn’s vote for the American Health Care Act (AHCA) last May was a vote to weaken protections for at least 2.7 million Tennesseans with pre-existing conditions, and no amount of backtracking she does now can make up for that.”
In fact, when Marsha Blackburn couldn’t even defend her own health care voting record, she turned to calling the ACA “HillaryCare” to distract from the real threat at hand – the gutting of protections for Tennesseans for pre-existing conditions.
A current lawsuit filed by 20 Republican state officials threatens to gut the provision of the ACA that protects people with pre-existing conditions from discrimination by insurers. Rep. Blackburn has still not signed on to Rep. Jacky Rosen’s resolution that would authorize the House’s legal counsel to go to court and defend these provisions.
A Deeper Dive Into Blackburn’s Record on Pre-Existing Conditions
Although Blackburn Claims To Support Coverage For People With Pre-Existing Conditions She Voted For Legislation That Would Have Gutted Those Protections
Blackburn Claimed That AHCA Would Protect People With Pre-Existing Conditions And That Laws Preventing Discrimination Against Pre-Existing Conditions Were A Republican Idea. “Yes, they are expecting to still be in there, pre-existing conditions and older children, young adults up to the age of 26. Actually, pre-existing conditions and 26-year-olds were two Republican provisions which made it into the [Obamacare] bill.” [Marsha Blackburn, Town Hall, 2/21/17]
- The Washington Post Fact Checker Rated Blackburn’s Claim “Four Pinocchios.” “There is no evidence that either of these popular elements of the ACA ‘were Republican provisions,’ as Blackburn claims. In fact, Blackburn is on record as promoting the concept of federally funded ‘high-risk pools’ even on the eve of the House vote for the Democratic bill that included a robust provision to bar insurance companies from refusing to cover preexisting conditions. Similarly, the Obama White House and House Democrats were the prime movers of the under-26 provision. Blackburn earns Four Pinocchios.” [Washington Post, 2/28/17]
What Did AHCA Mean For Pre-Existing Conditions?
- The American Health Care Act weakens key protections of the Affordable Care Act by allowing states to let insurers charge people with pre-existing conditions more, among other provisions. The bill would also make it more likely insurers would cherrypick young and healthier people, causing costs to skyrocket for older, sicker people.
- The American Health Care Act allowed states to eliminate community rating, meaning insurers would be able to charge people with pre-existing conditions more. This surcharge could be in the tens of thousands of dollars and even six figures: up to $4,270 for asthma, $17,060 for pregnancy, $26,180 for rheumatoid arthritis and $140,510 for metastatic cancer.
- Politifact found that AHCA “would weaken protections” for those with pre-existing conditions and “would allow states to give insurers the power to charge people significantly more.”