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News Thursday, Aug 30 2018

Survey Says: Dean Heller’s Pre-existing Conditions Con Is A Total Flop

Aug 30, 2018

“It’s getting hard to keep track of just how many experts have criticized Heller’s disingenuous, harmful disgrace of a bill. Maybe Heller should have checked with one before putting out his short-sighted proposal. Instead, he’s made it obvious to voters that he is willing to sell out 1.2 million Nevadans with pre-existing conditions in exchange for a sloppy attempt to save his political career,” said American Bridge spokesperson Amelia Penniman.


Nevada Independent: Facing attacks from left, Heller signs onto pre-existing conditions bill with nine Republican senators
By Megan Messerly and Humberto Sanchez | August 29th, 2018

  • “U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and nine of his Republican colleagues have introduced legislation to bring back the Affordable Care Act’s protections for patients with pre-existing conditions in the event that a federal court strikes them down next week, thoughhealth-care policy experts are cautioning that the bill may still leave sick patients without the care they need.
  • “The Republican-sponsored legislation doesn’t include a third portion of the federal law in jeopardy that prohibits insurance companies from excluding coverage of the pre-existing condition itself, an omission that one health-care expert described as ‘throwing a 10-foot rope to somebody in a 20-foot hole.’
  • “In short, a person with diabetes couldn’t be denied insurance or charged more for their coverage under the legislation, but an insurance company could decide not to cover any doctor’s visits, medication or other treatment associated with the diabetes diagnosis.
  • “The introduction of the bill comes as Heller is locked in a bitter re-election fight against freshman Rep. Jacky Rosen that has focused significantly on health care.”
  • “But health-care policy experts have come down hard on the bill, with Larry Levitt, senior vice president for health reform at the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, calling it a ‘mirage’ in a Friday tweet.”
  • “Heather Korbulic, the executive director of Nevada’s health insurance exchange, said in an email that the legislation ‘does not strengthen or even uphold the ACA’s pre-existing protections’ for the estimated 25 percent of Nevadans who have them and ‘arguably weakens them to the detriment of consumers, providers and Nevada’s public health.’”

Read the full article here.

Las Vegas Sun: Health exchange head says Heller bill gives illusion of protecting pre-existing conditions
By Yvonne Gonzalez | August 30, 2018

  • Nevada’s Republican Sen. Dean Heller is co-sponsoring a bill that requires coverage but not care for pre-existing conditions, said Heather Korbulic, executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange.”
  • “These provisions of the Affordable Care Act are at risk under a federal lawsuit, and Democrats in Congress have introduced resolutions to allow House and Senate legal counsel to defend the law in court.”
  • “It would have dramatic impacts on the whole country,” Korbulic said of the lawsuit. “We would go back to pre-ACA rules where you could again do medical underwriting based on pre-existing conditions — not everybody would be guaranteed a community rating, meaning they could have varied premium cost based on their health conditions, and many people would find themselves priced out of the market.”

Read the full article here.

Bloomberg: With New Bill, Senate Republicans Eye Damage Control Over Obamacare Lawsuit
By Sahil Kapur | August 24, 2018

  • “Larry Levitt, the senior vice president for health reform at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, said the legislation includes loopholes that would make preexisting condition coverage less robust than it is under existing law.”
  • “‘It prohibits individual premiums from varying based on health, but allows them to vary based on age, gender, occupation, and leisure activities. It would allow premium variation based on health in the small business market…The big loophole is that it would allow pre-existing condition exclusions, which were common in individual market plans before the ACA.’
  • “An insurer would have to give you insurance if you have a pre-existing condition, but it could exclude any services associated with your pre-existing condition…This would make protections for people with pre-existing conditions a bit of a mirage.”

Read the full article here.

LA Times: The GOP claims its proposal would protect people with preexisting conditions. That’s a lie
By Michael Hiltzik | August 28, 2018

  • “Republican foes of the Affordable Care Act always have taken pains to assure the public that whatever they do, they’ll protect people with preexisting medical conditions. That’s wise, because polls always have shown that the public values that feature of the ACA above almost all others.”
  • “Congressional Republicans have cooked up what they call a rescue plan. It’s billed as the ‘Ensuring Coverage for Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions Act.’”
  • “The measure says that no insurer may reject an insurance applicant based on his or her medical condition or history. But it’s got a loophole that even the dimmest insurance company could drive a hearse through: It doesn’t require that the insurer provide for treatment of the applicant’s preexisting condition.

Read the full article here.

Vox: The clearest sign yet that Republicans are really worried about the new Obamacare lawsuit
By Dylan Scott | August 27, 2018

  • “It’s clear the litigation has made Republicans in Congress nervous. Democrats are already running heavily on health care for the midterms, and a Trump-endorsed lawsuit that threatens Obamacare’s most popular provisions will only add more fuel to that fire.”
  • “So late last week, a handful of Republican senators introduced a new bill that they hope will defuse those attacks if the federal courts rule against Obamacare and put the law’s preexisting conditions rules in jeopardy just before voters head to the polls.”
  • “But that doesn’t appear to be entirely true…Under this bill, insurers could be permitted to refuse to cover services related to a person’s preexisting conditions.In other words, you would be guaranteed a health insurance plan — but that plan wouldn’t have to cover the services you might need most.”

Read the full article here.

Huffington Post: The GOP’s New Pre-Existing Conditions Promise Is A Fraud
By Jeffrey Young | August 24, 2018

  • “Making sure people who have pre-existing health conditions don’t get screwed by health insurance companies is very popular. So popular that a bunch of Republican senators who are freaked out about the party’s electoral prospects have introduced legislation to guarantee that no Americans may be denied coverage because of their medical history…Here’s the thing, though: That’s bogus.”
  • “The debut of this phony bill Friday is the latest installment in Republicans’ long-running campaign to make the health care system worse for anyone who has ever been sick while loudly proclaiming they are doing the opposite.”
  • “Furthermore, some of the Republicans involved in this pre-existing conditions mess are particularly vulnerable. “Heller, for example, is facing a major challenge to his re-election in large part because of his flip-flopping on Affordable Care Act repeal and eventual support for the last version of the legislation to replace it. That bill was the brainchild of Cassidy and Graham and absolutely would have weakened pre-existing condition protections.”

Read the full article here.

ThinkProgress: Republicans who opposed pre-existing condition protections backtrack as midterms near
By Amanda Michelle Gomez | August 24, 2018

  • “The bill doesn’t completely safeguard people’s coverage as current health law does. Instead, it’s likely an  attempt to fend off criticism ahead of the midterm elections.”
  • “So it’s not surprising that 10 GOP senators — Sens. Thom Tillis (NC), Lamar Alexander (TN), Chuck Grassley (IA), Joni Ernst (IA), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Bill Cassidy (LA), Roger Wicker (MS), Lindsey Graham (SC), Dean Heller (NV), and John Barrasso (WY) — introduced a bill so they can say they’re trying to defend people with pre-existing conditions. (Heller is in a particularly competitive race this year.)”
  • “‘Really this just prevents insurance companies from saying ‘no you can’t buy this coverage’ but this allows the opportunity to say no through price or through benefits,’ said Chris Sloan, senior manager at director at Avalere Health.”
  • “‘You can make a product so expensive based on medical history, based on gender, based on age, or based on not covering something that someone needs that they can’t afford — then you’ve effectively discriminated against them,’ he added.”

Read the full article here.

Roll Call: As Dems Campaign on Pre-Existing Conditions, 10 Republicans Move In
By Mary Ellen McIntire | August 24, 2018

  • “The legislation may not go as far as the Democrats’ health care law does in protecting patients with pre-existing conditions, though. Under the measure, insurers would still be able to refuse to cover certain services or prescription drugs for patients with pre-existing conditions, said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president for health reform at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.”

Read the full article here.

Washington Examiner: Confronting Democratic attacks, Republicans propose codifying insurance protections for sick people
By Robert King | August 24, 2018

  • “The problem for Senate Republicans is that the Trump administration wants to get rid of Obamacare’s pre-existing condition protections.”
  • “‘This bill is just an election year scam from Senate Republicans desperate to hide from their own record,’ said Brad Woodhouse, campaign director for the Obamacare advocacy group Protect Our Care.”

Read the full article here.

Published: Aug 30, 2018

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