Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton voted in favor of H.R. 986, the Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act of 2019, which passed the House this evening.
H.R. 986 would rescind the 1332 guidance issued by the Trump Administration which clearly weakens coverage and undermines the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions. In doing so, the bill reinforces the ACA’s vital protections for people with pre-existing conditions. It also prevents the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Treasury from promulgating any substantially similar guidance or rule in the future.
“Healthcare is complicated, but this issue is not,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “No American should ever be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition. I’m proud to have voted for the Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act. Virginia’s 10th Congressional District is home to over 330,000 Virginians living with pre-existing conditions. If the Trump administration gets its way, millions of Americans risk being priced out of their health insurance or denied coverage outright simply for having a pre-existing condition. That’s wrong, plain and simple.”
Patient advocacy groups representing millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions have expressed strong support for H.R. 986.
WATCH:Congresswoman Wexton speaks on the House floor in favor of the Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act.
Background on Section 1332 of the ACA and the Trump administration’s guidance:
Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act (State Innovation Waivers) was designed to give states the ability to experiment with health reforms that would improve the well-being and health of their residents. Section 1332 requires states to meet four statutory guardrails to be approved. The waiver proposals must be accessible, affordable, comprehensive and cannot increase the deficit.
The Trump administration’s guidance drastically weakens Section 1332. The guidance allows states to simply demonstrate that a comparable number of residents will have “access” to comprehensive and affordable coverage, regardless of whether they actually enroll in that coverage, thereby allowing the Secretaries of HHS and Treasury to approve waivers that do not provide coverage that is as affordable and comprehensive as under the ACA.
The administration’s guidance even goes so far as to allow states to use federal taxpayer dollars to subsidize the purchase of junk plans, which do not provide protections for pre-existing conditions and do not cover essential benefits.
The guidance’s aggressive promotion of inadequate junk plans, including by the use of federal taxpayer dollars to subsidize the buying of junk plans, will also result in increasing the premiums for those with pre-existing conditions who need comprehensive coverage – by leading younger, healthier people into the junk plans and out of comprehensive coverage, damaging the risk pool.
Finally, this damaging guidance also reinvigorates old, failed Republican ideas from the ACA repeal and replace debate, such as flat tax credits, which will leave consumers exposed to rising premium costs.