McClaughry: Dealing with pre-existing conditions

By John McClaughry

During the last national election campaign Democrats scored points by attacking Republicans for wanting to deny health insurance to people with pre-existing conditions. The Republicans couldn’t muster a good answer, even though they had one readily available.

The Patient Care Act, the leading Republican alternative, was designed to deal with just this problem. Persons who stayed continuously insured would be allowed to move between insurance coverage platforms without their health status factoring into the premiums they must pay for coverage.  The 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act included provisions aimed at easing the transition between group coverage and state-regulated individual market plans.  But the provisions addressing those transitions left gaps through which many people can, and do, still fall.

The continuous coverage requirement does not need to be burdensome.  It can be satisfied through the purchase of low-cost catastrophic coverage as well as more comprehensive insurance plans.

The Republican bill would have filled in those gaps, required state-regulated insurance plans to offer coverage to the continuously insured, and to guarantee its renewal.  The continuous coverage requirement does not need to be burdensome.  It can be satisfied through the purchase of low-cost catastrophic coverage as well as more comprehensive insurance plans.

There would have been a one-time open enrollment period during which persons who had not been previously insured could opt into coverage without facing higher premiums based on their health conditions.

These are reasonable provisions. Coupled with federally-funded state high risk pools, they would have decisively refuted the Democrats’ political attack.  Too bad the Republicans didn’t mount a powerful counterattack on their opponents’ falsehoods.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Alecano23

3 thoughts on “McClaughry: Dealing with pre-existing conditions

  1. I was not born here but the town of Hyde Park is named after my father’s ancestor ~ Jedediah Hyde. I did graduate from PA in 1951 and I cannot believe how this state has changed. It has become very liberal and I wonder where the Conservative Republicans have gone. Health insurance should be available for all people and they should be able to get their insurance out of state if they can’t find a company that meets their ability to pay. People have become only interested in themselves and their financial status. The people that are looking out for the general public should be the ones sent to Montpelier and Washington. Education should be a state/town issue not a federal one. Again I repeat our US Constitution says “we the people” not we the government. The people should get more serious about who they vote for and since this still is a Christian nation they should be voting for men/women who are Christians and who stand behind our Constitution.

    • The citizens of our conservative youth have retired to KY, TN, NC, SC, AZ and especially income tax free Fla and TX..

      The new, current “Vermonters” simply graduated from Union controlled Schools, and arch liberal colleges. Even then – most are leaving Vt for “greener pastures” Pun intended

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