Repeal Bill Would Leave Many Without Essential Health Benefits Coverage and Charge More for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

A new analysis from the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities (CBPP) exposes an obscure provision within the GOP’s new health care repeal bill that would allow states to waive core protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

 

The Cassidy-Graham bill, which is the GOP’s last-ditch effort to repeal health care after multiple failed attempts and strong backlash from the health industry and the American people, would specifically allow states to waive current laws that prevent insurance companies from charging higher premiums to those with pre-existing conditions.

It would also allow states to waive laws that require all plans to cover a set of “essential health benefits,” which will leave people, especially those with pre-existing conditions, without access to vital health services such as maternity care, substance abuse treatment, and mental health care.

Though the new bill would not allow outright denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions, it would allow insurance companies to charge unaffordable prices for plans that cover their needs––essentially pricing those with pre-existing conditions out of the market. States seeking waivers would have to explain how they “intend” to maintain access to coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, but they would not have to prove that their waivers would actually do so.

The full CBPP analysis can be found here.

“If their bill were adopted, millions of people with pre-existing conditions would lose access to these protections, and, as a result, would lose access to needed coverage and care,” CBPP says.