Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Thanks To Democrats, Pre-Existing Conditions Outweigh The Uninsured In The GOP Obamacare Deal

Thanks To Democrats, Pre-Existing Conditions Outweigh The Uninsured In The GOP Obamacare Deal

As House Republicans regain momentum in their quest to replace Obamacare, GOP moderates have done something unexpected: they’ve focused not broadly on covering the uninsured, but specifically on protecting those with pre-existing conditions. There’s a reason for that, and it has to do with wildly exaggerated claims that Democrats made when they were passing the law in 2009 and 2010.
Democrats’ extreme inflation of the pre-existing condition problem
The vast majority of Americans who are uninsured aren't without coverage because of a health problem. They're uninsured because of an economic problem: the problem that American health care costs too much, especially for lower-middle-income Americans who earn too much to qualify for government assistance. But Democrats sold the Affordable Care Act in a different way.
You’ve heard it a million times: Obamacare prohibits insurers from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. The reason you’ve heard it so often is that it’s one of the few aspects of Obamacare that consistently polls well.
“What I’m not willing to do,” said President Obama in his 2011 State of the Union address, “is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition.”
Obama and other Democrats made it sound like there were tens of millions of Americans going uninsured because cruel insurers were refusing to cover them. The Obama administration even put out a report titled “At Risk: Pre-Existing Conditions Could Affect 1 in 2 Americans: 129 Million Could Be Denied Affordable Coverage Without Health Reform."
That's ludicrously dishonest. Here’s why.
First: prior to Obamacare, the vast majority of Americans with health insurance were already in plans that were required to offer them coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions. Employer-based plans were required to offer coverage to everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions. So were Medicare, Medicaid, and other government programs like the VA. Employer- and government-based plans, prior to Obamacare, represented 90 percent of Americans with health insurance.


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