Patient Groups Slam Heller’s Phony and Unacceptable Pre-Existing Conditions Bill

Groups including American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association: “This is not acceptable for the patients we represent”

More than 25 patient groups - including the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, and the American Diabetes Association - are slamming Sen. Dean Heller’s phony bill, saying it would not sufficiently protect patients with pre-existing conditions:

“However, it would not ban pre-existing condition exclusions and would remove rating restrictions based on age, gender, tobacco use, or occupation. This means that many individuals could still face higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs and, even if enrollees paid the increased premiums for many months, they could still be denied benefits because of a pre-existing condition. In short, this bill would not replace critical protections in current law if the court rules unfavorably for patients and consumers in Texas v. U.S. This is not acceptable for the patients we represent.”

Nevada’s top health exchange official, Republican Sen. Susan Collins, and health care policy experts have all dismissed Heller’s bill for insufficiently protecting people with pre-existing conditions. The bill has been called everything from “a fraud” to “a lie” and compared to “throwing a 10 foot rope to somebody in a 20 foot hole.”

The Hill: Patient groups say GOP bill on pre-existing conditions is insufficient

By Peter Sullivan

September 4, 2018

  • More than 25 patient groups on Tuesday released a statement saying a recent GOP bill aimed at protecting people with pre-existing conditions is insufficient.
  • [T]he groups note that the measure does not include a ban on insurers simply excluding coverage of pre-existing conditions, meaning insurers could offer plans that do not cover the care that patients need most while still not denying coverage outright.
  • The legislation also would allow insurers to charge higher premiums based on factors like age, the groups note.
  • “However, it would not ban pre-existing condition exclusions and would remove rating restrictions based on age, gender, tobacco use, or occupation. This means that many individuals could still face higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs and, even if enrollees paid the increased premiums for many months, they could still be denied benefits because of a pre-existing condition.”
  • The groups issuing the statement include the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and American Diabetes Association.