House passes bill to protect people with preexisting conditions

The House of Representatives passed legislation today that would safeguard individuals with preexisting conditions from efforts by the Trump Administration to undermine their access to care.

The Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act (HR 986), introduced by Reps. Annie Kuster (NH-02), Don Beyer (VA-08), and Joe Courtney (CT-02), would revoke guidance issued by the Trump Administration in October 2018 that encourages states to approve health plans that do not cover preexisting conditions.

“We cannot go back to a time when Americans with preexisting conditions can be charged more or denied care,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “Our legislation provides much-needed pushback against the Trump Administration’s repeated and ongoing sabotage of the Affordable Care Act and our healthcare system. I remain focused on how we can strengthen our healthcare system and I will continue fighting to make the ACA work better for all Americans.”

“Passing this legislation is part of House Democrats’ larger commitment to fighting for quality, affordable health care for all Americans,” said Congressman Beyer. “Our bill aims to undo much of the worst of the Trump Administration’s sabotage of the U.S. health care system, which threatens to raise costs and weaken protections for people with preexisting conditions. It comes on the heels of our legislation opposing the Trump Administration’s lawsuit which would deprive millions of health coverage and eliminate the ban on discriminating against people with preexisting conditions. I expect further legislation to take aggressive action on reducing health care costs and prescription drug prices, and hope that more of our Republican colleagues will vote with us in the future on measures to support a better health care system.”

“One of the primary goals of this Administration has been to erode key ACA consumer protections, like coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions – provisions that are the very foundation of the health care law,” said Congressman Courtney. “In 2010 we turned the page on allowing insurance companies to charge people more, or to flat out deny them coverage, based on an absurdly broad range of common pre-existing conditions – things like cancer and diabetes, a mental illness, or surviving a heart attack. That’s where this Administration wants to take us back to by issuing waiver guidance like they did in October. Passage of our bill is an important step towards ensuring that millions of Americans with common health conditions can keep their coverage, and I encourage the Senate to follow the House’s lead and act swiftly to pass this legislation.”

“I am proud to have cast my vote for this critical legislation that protects the health and economic stability of hardworking families and those with pre-existing conditions, ” said Congressman A. Donald McEachin. “More than 3.4 million Virginians live with a pre-existing condition. This bill protects them – along with countless others throughout the country – from the Trump administration’s attacks on health care. I will continue to champion all individuals’ right to affordable, quality health care.”

The Protecting Americans with Pre-existing Conditions Act would revoke Section 1332 guidance released by the Trump Administration’s U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on October 22, 2018, which weakened protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions. Under the Trump Administration’s guidance, states can apply for a waiver that allows them to circumvent essential health benefits, protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, and use federal funds to subsidize the purchase of junk health plans.

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