With a vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act still possible as soon as this week, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) took to the House Floor opposing the proposed legislation that dismantles protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
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Higgins made the following remarks on the House Floor:
“For the third time in ninety days the Republicans are trying to take away patient protections from Americans with pre-existing medical conditions. Fifty percent of all Americans and eighty-six percent of Americans ages 55-64 have pre-existing conditions.
“There is a genetic influence in many people who have pre-existing conditions meaning the tens of millions of Americans are born into a predisposition for certain diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
“The Republican health care scam would obliterate protections for pre-existing conditions, for example, if you have a Dad with a kid who’s stuck with childhood cancer, the Dad could buy a policy but that policy would not have to cover his kid’s cancer treatments.
“That, Mr. Speaker, is a deliberate intent to deceive the American people.”
Some members of the Republican Congress are pushing for approval of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which would replace the Affordable Care Act, but were unable to secure enough votes to pass the bill last month. Last week Rep. McArthur introduced an amendment to the Republican’s American Health Care Act that would allow states to opt out of the following protections:
- No Guarantee for those with Pre-Existing Conditions: The Affordable Care Act guarantees affordable, comprehensive coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. The McArthur Amendment allows insurance companies to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, pushing individuals to high-risk pools that often provide less coverage at a higher cost.
- Age Tax: The Affordable Care act sets a 3:1 limit on the age rating. The McArthur Amendment to AHCA removes that protection for older Americans, allowing states to set the age ratio as high as they’d like, a policy opposed by the AARP.
- Less Coverage: The Affordable Care Act requires coverage for Essential Benefits including: prescription drugs; emergency care and hospitalization; maternity, newborn and pediatric care; and substance use and mental health services. The McArthur Amendment to AHCA would allow states to drop coverage for these essential benefits.
According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the American Health Care Act would result in 52 million uninsured by 2026. An updated score on the impact of the AHCA with the McArthur amendment has not yet been released.
Congressman Higgins is a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means which has jurisdiction over healthcare legislation.