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West Virginia GOP Bill On Pre-Existing Conditions Nothing More Than Political Cover For Ongoing Support For Disastrous Texas Lawsuit

By January 8, 2020No Comments

Washington, DC — Yesterday, West Virginia’s Republican Attorney General announced a proposal that claims to offer protections for West Virginians with pre-existing conditions despite his ongoing support for the disastrous Trump-Texas lawsuit that would eliminate those protections from 135 million Americans including more than 700,000 West Virginians. West Virginia is one of the 18 Republican-led states who have joined the Trump administration in support of the Texas lawsuit that seeks to eliminate the entire Affordable Care Act. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“West Virginia Republicans claim this proposed legislation protects people with pre-existing conditions, but it’s nothing more than political cover while they seek to eliminate those protections. If Republicans like Attorney General Morrisey were serious about guaranteeing protections for pre-existing conditions they would not have signed on to the disastrous Texas lawsuit that seeks to eliminate health coverage for 20 million Americans and strip protections from more than 700,000 West Virginians with pre-existing conditions. It is clear that this legislation is another one of the GOP’s phony attempts at claiming support for protections for pre-existing conditions while simultaneously waging a war in court to eliminate them.”

BACKGROUND:

If Trump Gets His Way, Insurance Companies Would Be Put Back In Charge, Ending Protections For The 135 Million People Nationwide 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
  • 716,400 West Virginians have a pre-existing condition, including 89,400 West Virginia children, 352,000 West Virginia women, and 182,900 West Virginians between ages 55 and 64. 

If the Texas lawsuit is successful in overturning the ACA, West Virginians with pre-existing conditions would be at risk:

  • Insurance Companies Could Charge Premium Surcharges in the Six Figures. If the Trump-GOP lawsuit is successful, insurance companies would be able to charge people more because of a pre-existing condition. The health repeal bill the House passed in 2017 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.
  • 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.
  • Insurance Companies Could Reinstate Lifetime and Annual Limits On 581,000 Privately Insured West Virginians. 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.
  • Insurance Companies Could Once Again Deny Coverage To People With Pre-Existing Conditions. Thanks to the ACA, all health insurance plans must allow you to enroll regardless of health status, age, gender, or other factors that might predict the use of health service. This is particularly important for the 135 million Americans who live with a pre-existing condition, who might otherwise be unable to afford health insurance.