GOP Healthcare Bill WILL NOT Protect Preexisting Conditions

Senate Republicans have until September 30 to advance legislation to repeal Obamacare under the “budget reconciliation” rules, which allows the GOP to pass a bill with 51 votes in the Senate rather than the normally-required 60 votes. The current method for repealing Obamacare is through legislation called “Graham-Cassidy,” in reference to its sponsors, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). It’s not clear whether or not the bill has enough support to make it through a floor vote sometime next week — nor is it clear that Republicans even really understand what the bill does other than allow them to tell right-wing constituents that they repealed Obamacare.

What we do know about Graham-Cassidy is that it would eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions, one of the most popular features of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma)

As the Washington Post explains, Vice President Mike Pence made it clear in an interview on “Fox and Friends” that Graham-Cassidy will not guarantee protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions:

What the bill says it would do on paper for people with preexisting conditions and what it would do in practice for people with preexisting conditions are very different. [Pols emphasis]

Technically, this bill says health insurers can’t refuse sick people insurance like they could pre-Obamacare. If states ask the federal government to let insurers stop charging sick and healthy people the same amount, they have to explain how they’ll provide affordable coverage to sick people. But the bill doesn’t require states to follow through on it. It says if states request a waiver, the government has to grant it.

That would allow insurers to jack up the prices on sick people, something health-care analysts say insurers almost certainly will do given the chance, since covering sick people isn’t cheap…

…Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), author of the bill, focused on the regulation that, technically, insurers must provide people with preexisting conditions coverage. “More people will have coverage and we protect those with preexisting conditions,” he said Wednesday on CNN.

But if you ask that question a slightly different way to the bill’s supporters — can you guarantee people with preexisting conditions will get coverage — you get a totally different answer.

Senate Republicans continue to trot out the line that Graham-Cassidy will be great because it will give states more flexibility in deciding how to deal with healthcare coverage. That’s not entirely untrue, but it is an overly-broad message that skips right on on past reality.

As Vox.com explains, under Graham-Cassidy, the individual market would become more expensive for the sick:

Graham-Cassidy would allow states to waive out of two key Obamacare policies that protect sick Americans: a ban on underwriting and requirement to cover all essential health benefits.

The Affordable Care Act outlaws a practice called underwriting, where insurance plans tether their premiums to the expected health costs of a specific patient. Health plans would charge low premiums to healthy, young individuals but higher ones to those who are sicker or older.

This all brings us back to Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who said previously — in no uncertain terms — that pre-existing conditions must be protected in any new healthcare legislation. Graham-Cassidy WILL NOT protect pre-existing conditions.

Sen. Gardner has a choice here. He can keep his word and refuse to support Graham-Cassidy, or…not.

12 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. FrankUnderwood says:

    Don't go quoting Cory Gardner and something he said last May…..

    That was then, this is now. He is tool who will do as he is told to do.

  2. ZappateroZappatero says:

    are they all lying? Is Gardner lying? Or are the facts so nebulous that no one could tell?

    Why not say it in the headline? Why not call them out on their deadly lies? Each and every one of them. 

    You need to consult with Chris Cillizza? Chuck Plunkett?

    Really, CPOLS, can you finally display some political guts? Or are you afraid you're going to hurt one of your f(R)iends fee-fees like Senator Mike fears so much?

      • ZappateroZappatero says:

        mock away guy and gals……..you haven't presented any evidence or principles that negate my criticisms of how you run this blog…..no matter how much google ad money you get. (The Russians got it, too.)

        • VoyageurVoyageur says:

          Zappy, nobody refutes your criticisms because everybody knows you are a full bore, bottled in bond, board certified, whack job!

          • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

            I refute Zap’s critiques of Bennet sometimes. I'm liking Bennet better these days, but it's more about style (he's becoming a better speaker) than substance. He's a reliable D vote, but never moves much off center vote-wise. To today's GOP, that makes him equivalent to Stalin in the flesh.

            I don't think that Zap is a "whack job" – I agree with most of his actual positions (on health care and military vs. social spending). He does seem to enjoy stoking people's irritation with Bennet-hating Ahab persona. I don't get the Chris Cilizza animus, either.  He means not to persuade, but to antagonize. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

            The effect is indistinguishable from trolling, because, now nobody's discussing Cassidy-Graham or pre-existing conditions anymore.

             

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        [nodding]

        [smiling]

        [avoiding any direct eye contact]

        [slowly backing away]

        . . . 

  3. ZappateroZappatero says:

    call the lying bastards out…….it's so easy I can do it. 

  4. Pseudonymous says:

    Dynamite go boom, perhaps?

    JUST IN: Sens. Graham & Cassidy will debate Sens. Sanders & Klobuchar on health care in live CNN event, Monday 9p ET https://t.co/eLye3JeX4n pic.twitter.com/DiXyrimEfm

    — CNN (@CNN) September 21, 2017

  5. Gilpin Guy says:

    The madness of not waiting for informed discussion really shows how off the rails the Republicans have gone.  Good policy is being replaced by any policy no matter how poorly it is constructed.  We have all these people who have lost everything and in desperate situations and all these clowns can do is throw out something that looks like policy without waiting for the CBO or hearing from experts in the healthcare field.  This is our fate and our destiny.

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      Even that bleeding-heart liberal, Joe Scarborough, was trashing them over the lack of a CBO score, saying that Wm F. Buckley must be spinning in his grave.

      Then to show that he's fair and balance – I know, that phrase currently is not in use – he trashed Chuck Schumer for letting Bernie be the spokesperson for the defense of Obamacare, saying that plays right into Graham and Cassidy's strategy.

  6. notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

    They have to hurry. The 60-vote majority is coming! No time to waste!

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