Kaine co-sponsors bill to guarantee protections for Americans with pre-existing health conditions

tim kaineU.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, co-sponsored legislation to block attempts by the Trump Administration to walk back protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Last month, the Trump Administration announced it would change a rule to allow insurance companies to expand short-term ‘junk’ plans that put people with pre-existing conditions at risk and could allow insurance companies to charge patients more based on their medical history. The Fair Care Act would stop the Trump Administration’s plan to change these rules, ensure that short-term plans are only offered in limited circumstances, and require that all plans comply with basic consumer protections.

“The Affordable Care Act put measures in place to protect Americans with life-threatening illnesses like cancer or lung disease from discrimination—we cannot allow the Trump Administration to heartlessly take that away,” said Senator Kaine. “Every American in every zip code should have access to the care they need, and we should not be in the business of allowing insurance companies to charge Americans with pre-existing conditions more for their policies.”

The Urban Institute recently found that the combination of expanding access to short-term risky plans and the actions that President Trump and Congressional Republicans have taken to sabotage the health care system would increase premiums and result in more uninsured Americans. 

Senator Kaine has been working on solutions to strengthen and stabilize the health insurance market and improve access to health care. He is strong supporter of the bipartisan Murray-Alexander health care stabilization legislation, and introduced the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act to help stabilize the individual health care marketplace and lower premiums. In October, Kaine introduced legislation to create Medicare-X, a public plan that would offer families, individuals, and small businesses additional, low-cost health insurance choices and create more competition in the marketplace. The bill would build on the Medicare framework to establish a public insurance plan offered on the individual and small business health exchanges, allowing Americans to choose among the existing private insurance plans or a public one.

The Fair Care Act was originally sponsored by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and has support from Families USA, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

In addition to Kaine, the bill was also co-sponsored by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tina Smith (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

Text of the Fair Care Act is available, here.


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