Senate Health Care Bill Would Not Sufficiently Protect Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions

September 04, 2018 Categories: Advocacy News

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 4, 2018 — More than 25 patient and consumer groups representing millions of people with pre-existing health conditions issued the following statement regarding S. 3388, the Ensuring Coverage for Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions Act introduced on August 23rd, 2018.

“Our organizations are pleased that the sponsors of this legislation recognize the importance of protecting access to health insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Like the bill’s drafters, we acknowledge that the Texas v. U.S. lawsuit poses a real threat to the millions of patients and consumers with serious and chronic conditions represented by our organizations. Americans need access to affordable and adequate healthcare coverage to manage and maintain their health. We are encouraged that the sponsors of this bill recognize that Congressional action will be needed to address the damaging impact on our patients if the court invalidates vital protections in current law.

“We appreciate that this legislation would prohibit the denial of coverage and rating based on health status. However, it would not ban pre-existing condition exclusions and would remove rating restrictions based on age, gender, tobacco use, or occupation. This means that many individuals could still face higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs and, even if enrollees paid the increased premiums for many months, they could still be denied benefits because of a pre-existing condition. In short, this bill would not replace critical protections in current law if the court rules unfavorably for patients and consumers in Texas v. U.S. This is not acceptable for the patients we represent.

“Patients and their families rely on the comprehensive protections included in the Affordable Care Act to access important, life-sustaining and life-improving health care. Our groups remain committed to working with Congress to ensure that any legislation promising to protect people with pre-existing conditions meet the principles set by our organizations that guarantee that health care is affordable, adequate and accessible – no matter the ultimate outcome of this lawsuit.”

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Adult Congenital Heart Association

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

American Diabetes Association

American Heart Association

American Liver Foundation

American Lung Association

Arthritis Foundation

Chronic Disease Coalition

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Epilepsy Foundation

Family Voices

Hemophilia Federation of America

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Lutheran Services in America

March of Dimes

Muscular Dystrophy Association

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Health Council

National Hemophilia Foundation

National Kidney Foundation

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

National Organization for Rare Disorders

National Patient Advocate Foundation

National Psoriasis Foundation

Susan G. Komen

United Way Worldwide

WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease