Last night at the Republican National Convention, Republicans continued to lie about their health care record, this time on protections for pre-existing conditions. In a speech, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany falsely claimed that President Trump “stands by Americans with pre-existing conditions.” The truth is that one week after the election the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in California v. Texas, a lawsuit brought by the Trump administration to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act. If successful, Trump’s lawsuit would rip away health care from more than 23 million Americans, end protections for more than 135 million people with pre-existing conditions and throw the entire American health care system into chaos as the nation faces the worst public health crisis in a century. 

What’s At Stake: Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions

Without the ACA, protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will be eliminated overnight, and the uninsured rate will increase by 65 percent. Making matters worse, if the ACA is struck down, everyone who contracts the coronavirus could be deemed as having a pre-existing condition and be at the mercy of their insurance companies who could refuse to pay for needed care. It’s critical that Americans understand just what’s at stake if this outrageous and irresponsible lawsuit succeeds.

The ACA included four key provisions that protect people with pre-existing conditions. If the law is overturned in the Texas lawsuit: 

  • GONE: Rule that forbids insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
  • GONE: Rule that prevents insurers from charging people with pre-existing conditions more.
  • GONE: Requirements that insurance companies cover essential health benefits, such as prescription drugs and maternity care.
  • GONE: Ban on insurance companies having lifetime caps on coverage.

Premium Surcharges Can Once Again Be In The Six Figures. Thanks to the Republican lawsuit, insurance companies can charge people more because of a pre-existing condition. The House-passed repeal bill had a similar provision, and an analysis by the Center for American Progress found that insurers could charge up to $4,270 more for asthma, $17,060 more for pregnancy, $26,180 more for rheumatoid arthritis and $140,510 more for metastatic cancer.

More Than 140 Million Americans Could Once Again Have To Pay For Preventive Care. Because of the ACA, private health plans must cover preventive services — like flu shots, cancer screenings, contraception, and mammograms – at no cost to consumers. More than 140 million Americans are enrolled in plans that provide free preventive services, including 133 million people with employer coverage. 

Insurance Companies Would Not Have To Provide The Coverage You Need. The Affordable Care Act made comprehensive coverage more available by requiring insurance companies to include “essential health benefits” in their plans, such as maternity care, hospitalization, substance abuse care and prescription drug coverage. Before the ACA, people had to pay extra for separate coverage for these benefits. For example, in 2013, 75 percent of non-group plans did not cover maternity care, 45 percent did not cover substance abuse disorder services, and 38 percent did not cover mental health services. Six percent did not even cover generic drugs.

Reinstate Lifetime and Annual Limits On 109 Million Privately Insured Americans. Repealing the Affordable Care Act means insurance companies would be able to impose annual and lifetime limits on coverage for those insured through their employer or on the individual market. In 2009, prior to the implementation of the ACA, 59 percent of workers covered by employer-sponsored health plans had a lifetime limit. 

Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies routinely denied people coverage because of a pre-existing condition or canceled coverage when a person got sick.

Republicans Want To Put Insurance Companies Back In Charge, Ending Protections For The 135 Million People With A Pre-Existing Condition

  • According to a recent analysis by the Center for American Progress, roughly half of nonelderly Americans, or as many as 135 million people, have a pre-existing condition. This includes:
    • 44 million people who have high blood pressure
    • 45 million people who have behavioral health disorders
    • 44 million people who have high cholesterol
    • 34 million people who have asthma and chronic lung disease
    • 34 million people who have osteoarthritis and other joint disorders
  • More than 17 million children, 68 million women, and 32 million people aged 55-64 have a pre-existing condition.

American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American DIabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and National Multiple Sclerosis Society: “Striking Down These Provisions Would Be Catastrophic And Have Dire Consequences For Many Patients With Serious Illnesses.” [American Cancer Society et. al, 6/14/18]