PA Democrats Release Report on the Administration’s Threat to Pennsylvanians with Pre-Existing Conditions

Oct 10, 2018 Issues: Health Care

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Representatives Mike Doyle (PA-14), Robert Brady (PA-01), Matt Cartwright (PA-17), Brendan Boyle (PA-13), Dwight Evans (PA-02), and Conor Lamb (PA-18) released a report detailing how people in Pennsylvania would be hurt by the Trump Administration’s action to invalidate protections for people with pre-existing conditions that were guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“More than 5 million people in Pennsylvania who have pre-existing conditions could see their premiums increase dramatically if the Affordable Care Act’s protections are undermined,” Representative Doyle said in releasing the report. “Some Pennsylvanians with pre-existing conditions could even be denied health insurance at any price. That’s unacceptable. Americans don’t want to go back to the bad old days when insurance companies cherry-picked customers and charged women, older Americans, and people with pre-existing conditions more. I helped to enact the Affordable Care Act, and I am fighting to preserve its coverage expansion and patient protections. ”

“Almost 624,000 people in Pennsylvania will be severely impacted if the Trump administration is able to gut protections for people with per-existing health conditions now provided by the ACA,” Representative Brady observed. “Those who would be most at risk under this proposed Trump hatchet job are the most vulnerable Americans, not the privileged one percent. We cannot allow this wrong headed proposal to happen.”

“Creating instability for people with pre-existing health conditions is a step back,” said Representative Cartwright. “We need to be taking steps forward, like lowering the costs of prescription drugs.”

“Allowing insurance companies to deny someone health coverage or raise rates because of a pre-existing condition is nothing short of cruel,” said Representative Boyle. “The health and financial stability of more than 5 million Pennsylvanians hangs in the balance. Some of these people are denied coverage with a “pre-existing condition” like childhood acne, pregnancy, or for just being a woman. This is absurd.  As much as the Trump Administration tries, I refuse to go back to bad old days when these people were left in jeopardy.” 

Representative Evans said, “In 2016, President Trump promised Pennsylvanians ‘quality, reliable, affordable health care’ and ‘at a much less expensive cost.’ He and his Republican enablers in Congress have failed Pennsylvanians on that. In 2016, President Trump also said big pharmaceutical companies are ‘getting away with murder’ and that ‘We’re going to negotiate like crazy’ on Medicare Part D prescription drug prices. He and Republicans in Congress have failed Pennsylvanians on that too.”  

“People suffering from cancer, or diabetes, or asthma or any other preexisting condition shouldn’t have to live in fear of losing their coverage or seeing their premiums go through the roof,” Congressman Lamb stated. “We should be working together to make health care and prescription drugs more affordable, not taking away protections that have made such an enormous difference in the lives of so many people in our state and all over the country."

At Congressman Doyle’s request, Democratic staff on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform prepared a report on the threat posed to Pennsylvanians by the Trump Administration’s actions to weaken the ACA’s protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. The report estimates that:
 

  • As many as 624,000 people in the individual market in Pennsylvania may lose federal protections against coverage denials or premium increases as a result of their pre-existing health conditions, gender, or age.
    • Individuals with Pre-Existing Health Conditions:  As many as 399,000 people in the state who purchase insurance through the individual market have pre-existing health conditions and may lose federal protections against coverage denials or premium increases as a result of the Administration’s actions. Of these individuals, 196,000 have pre-existing health conditions severe enough that insurers might deny them coverage altogether.
    • Women:  As many as 368,000 women in the state who purchase coverage through the individual market may lose federal protections against coverage denials or premium increases because of their gender as a result of the Administration’s actions. Before current protections were put in place, a 40-year-old Pennsylvania woman paid 20% to 47% more for coverage than a man of the same age as a result of discrimination by insurance companies.
    • Older Adults:  If current statutory protections are eliminated, older Americans could be charged many times more than the amount younger adults pay for their insurance premiums. As many as 281,000 individuals between 50 and 64 years old in the state who purchase health insurance through the individual market may lose federal protections against coverage denials or premium increases as a result of the Administration’s actions. 
  • Although this report focuses primarily on individuals who purchase insurance through the individual market, 6,335,000 individuals in Pennsylvania with employer-sponsored insurance may also be at risk of losing these federal protections.

According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, nearly three-quarters of the American people believe it is “very important” to retain these protections in the law. 

Click here to read today’s report.

###