ONE WEEK LATER: Heller’s Pre-Existing Conditions Sham Falls Flat

New GOP plan backed by Heller has faced brutal criticism for the past week because it would fail to uphold current coverage protections for pre-existing conditions

After months of silence on the Trump-backed GOP lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act’s coverage protections for pre-existing conditions, Sen. Dean Heller’s desperate attempt to save face because there’s an election around the corner isn’t fooling anyone. More than a year after Heller’s self-inflicted repeal debacle, Senator Spineless is still tying himself in knots on health care.

One week later, here’s a recap of the brutal blowback on Heller’s pre-existing conditions sham:

  • Las Vegas Sun: “A Republican Senate bill that seeks to bolster protections for patients with pre-existing conditions falls short of current law, said Nevada’s health insurance exchange leader. Nevada’s Republican Sen. Dean Heller is co-sponsoring a bill that requires coverage but not care for pre-existing conditions, said Heather Korbulic, executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange.”
  • The Nevada Independent: “the Republican-sponsored legislation doesn’t include a third portion of the federal law in jeopardy that prohibits insurance companies from excluding coverage of the pre-existing condition itself, an omission that one health-care expert described as ‘throwing a 10-foot rope to somebody in a 20-foot hole.’”
  • The Nevada Independent: “Heather Korbulic, the executive director of Nevada’s health insurance exchange, said in an email that the legislation ‘does not strengthen or even uphold the ACA’s pre-existing protections’ for the estimated 25 percent of Nevadans who have them and ‘arguably weakens them to the detriment of consumers, providers and Nevada’s public health.’”
  • Axios: “the GOP bill would… leave sick people less protected than they currently are… unlike under the ACA, insurers could exclude coverage of the services associated with pre-existing conditions.”
  • Vox: “under this bill, insurers could be permitted to refuse to cover services related to a person’s preexisting conditions… you would be guaranteed a health insurance plan — but that plan wouldn’t have to cover the services you might need most.”
  • Bloomberg: “Larry Levitt, the senior vice president for health reform at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, said the legislation includes loopholes that would make preexisting condition coverage less robust than it is under existing law.”
  • Los Angeles Times (Opinion): “it’s got a loophole that even the dimmest insurance company could drive a hearse through: It doesn’t require that the insurer provide for treatment of the applicant’s preexisting condition.”
  • POLITICO Pro: “Sen. Susan Collins on Monday criticized a new GOP health bill for failing to fully protect people with pre-existing conditions… health policy experts have slammed the bill since its release, charging that while insurers would be required to sell coverage to everyone no matter their pre-existing conditions, they could still exclude coverage of treatments related to those pre-existing conditions.”
  • Washington Examiner: “Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, opposes a new Republican bill to enshrine pre-existing condition protections because it doesn’t include other key Obamacare consumer protections.”
  • HuffPost: “The debut of this phony bill Friday is the latest installment in Republicans’ long-running campaign to make the health care system worse for anyone who has ever been sick while loudly proclaiming they are doing the opposite.”
  • ThinkProgress: “‘You can make a product so expensive based on medical history, based on gender, based on age, or based on not covering something that someone needs that they can’t afford — then you’ve effectively discriminated against them,’ [Chris Sloan, senior manager at director at Avalere Health] added.”
  • MSNBC: “It’s more about creating political cover than creating meaningful protections. Anyone who believes the sponsors’ claims will be making a mistake.”

Rosen for Nevada spokesperson Molly Forgey released the following statement:

“Senator Heller is looking out for himself instead of looking out for his constituents with pre-existing conditions, but the past week proves that he isn’t fooling anyone with this spineless ploy to distract from his health care record. His sham legislation has been exposed as a political stunt and another broken promise. Senator Heller keeps saying he wants to protect Nevadans with pre-existing conditions, but that’s clearly not what he’s doing in Washington.”