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Reminder: The American Health Care Act Would Have Been Terrible For People With Pre-existing Conditions

By October 11, 2018No Comments

FACT: The American Health Care Act would have allowed insurers to charge people with pre-existing conditions more because it allowed states to eliminate community rating.

The surcharge could have been 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.

That’s Why Those Who Know Health Care Best Said The American Health Care Act Was The Worst for People With Pre-Existing Conditions

American Medical Association: “The History Of High-Risk Pools Demonstrates That Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions Will Be Stuck In Second-Class Health Care Coverage — If They Are Able To Obtain Coverage At All.” “High-risk pools are not a new idea. Prior to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, 35 states operated high-risk pools, and they were not a panacea for Americans with pre-existing medical conditions. The history of high-risk pools demonstrates that Americans with pre-existing conditions will be stuck in second-class health care coverage – if they are able to obtain coverage at all.” [American Medical Association, 5/3/17]

American College Of Physicians: “We Have Grown Even More Concerned.” “It will bring great harm to patients, many of whom are treated by our members, notwithstanding the amendment that reportedly will be offered today on funding for high risk pools. In an April 24 letter, ACP detailed many of the reasons why this bill will undermine coverage, benefits, and consumer protections for millions of people. Nothing since then has changed our assessment of the harm the AHCA will bring to patients. Rather, we have grown even more concerned.” [American College of Physicians, 5/3/17]

American College Of Physicians: “Make No Mistake: This Paltry Increase In Funding For High Risk Pools That Are Already Grossly Underfunded By The Bill Will Not Make Coverage Affordable For Sick People.” [American College of Physicians, 5/3/17]

Association Of American Medical Colleges: “Patients Will Still Be At Risk, Leaving Those With Cancer, Congenital Heart Conditions, Mental Illness, Or Other Needs With Access To Coverage They Cannot Afford.” “As drafted, the AHCA would allow states to waive current protections for individuals with preexisting conditions who have a gap in coverage, leaving them vulnerable to insurers who may charge higher premiums based on their more fragile health status. The amendment appears to offer little relief for these skyrocketing costs for the sick; what relief it would provide is impossible for any patient or family to predict…Patients will still be at risk, leaving those with cancer, congenital heart conditions, mental illness, or other needs with access to coverage they cannot afford.” [AAMC, 5/4/17]

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network: “[The Upton Amendment] Is Particularly Egregious Because It Would Further Incent States To Apply For Waivers From Current-Law Market Rules That Protect Patients With Pre-Existing Condition.” [American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, 5/3/17]

Nine Leading Patient Groups: “The Various Patches Offered By Lawmakers–Including High Risk Pools And Financial Assistance With Premiums–Do Not In Any Way Offer The Same Level Of Protection Provided In Current Law.” [American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network et al,  5/3/17]

AARP: “The Upton Amendment Would Do Little To Reduce The Massive Premium Increases For Those With Pre-Existing Conditions.” “Changes under consideration that would allow states to waive important consumer protections — allowing insurance companies to once again charge Americans with pre-existing conditions more because they’ve had cancer, diabetes or heart disease — would make a bad bill even worse. This would be devastating for the 25 million Americans 50-64 who have a deniable pre-existing condition. The Upton amendment would do little to reduce the massive premium increases for those with pre-existing conditions.” [AARP, 5/3/17]

AARP: “We Remain Opposed” With Upton Amendment.“Upton Amendment: $8 billion giveaway to insurance companies; won’t help majority of those w/preexisting conditions. We remain opposed.” [Tweet, 5/3/17]

Consumers Union: “Upton Amendment To AHCA A ‘Drop In The Bucket’ That Does Nothing To Fix Fundamental Flaws.” “‘This amendment is like slapping a band-aid on a broken bone and expecting it to heal — it’s a drop in the bucket in terms of actually providing protections for the millions of people insurers consider to have preexisting conditions.” [Consumers Union, 5/3/17]

Blue Cross Blue Shield Of California: “AHCA Pre-Ex Proposal ‘Could Return Us To A Time When People…Who Became Sick Could Not Purchase Or Afford Insurance.’” “@BlueShieldCA CEO: #AHCA pre-ex proposal ‘could return us to a time when people .. who became sick could not purchase or afford insurance’ [Kaiser Health News, 5/3/17]

….But that’s not all: The American Health Care Act would have resulted in HIGHER costs. FEWER covered. WEAKER protections. At the same time, millionaires get a tax cut and health care CEOs get a tax break.

  • Premiums would have gone up by as much as 20 percent and 24 million will have their health care taken away, according to independent analysis from the Congressional Budget Office.
  • Insurance companies would have been allowed to charge people over the age of 50 as much as five times more for their premiums than younger people, and it would increase insurance premiums for people over age 60 by as much $8,400 – what AARP is calling an ‘age tax.’
  • Medicaid would have been cut by $835 billion – cuts that will result in rationed care for those in nursing homes, people with disabilities, those receiving mental health care or drug treatment.
  • Guts protections for those with pre-existing conditions so insurance companies could go back to charging people with health issues much higher premiums, according to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
  • Insurance companies could have gone back to putting annual and lifetime limits on health care coverage, including for those with employer-paid insurance.
  • Women could have been charged more than men for their insurance because insurance companies would no longer be required to include pregnancy, childbirth, or prescription birth control as part of basic health insurance
  • Would have given hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthy and big corporations while raising costs and cutting coverage for average Americans.