Rep. Blum Joins Rep. Knight to Introduce Bill to Protect Pre-Existing Condition Coverage
On Wednesday, September 26, 2018, Congressman Rod Blum and nine of his colleagues introduced H.R. 6898, the Maintaining Protections for Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions Act of 2018, led by Representative Steve Knight.
Currently, twenty states are filing a lawsuit in federal court arguing that the entirety of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional. If these suits are to succeed, there is a risk that patients with pre-existing conditions would be stripped of certain protections afforded by the ACA.
The Maintaining Protections for Patients with Pre-existing Conditions Act would duplicate statutes for pre-existing conditions protections in federal law by amending the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) so they remain operative in the event the ACA is struck down in court.
Specifically, H.R. 6898 prohibits risk-rating, coverage denial, or exclusions or limitations of coverage to patients based on pre-existing conditions or any other health factor, including health status, medical condition, claims experience, medical history, genetic information, and disability. This bill maintains current law allowances for premium rate variations based on age, tobacco use, and area of residence.
Original cosponsors of H.R. 6898 include Rep. Bull Huizenga (R-MI), Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), Rep. David Valadao (R-CA), Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), and Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME).
Congressman Blum commented, "As we move forward towards reforms to expand health care options and make coverage more affordable, I am committed to ensuring those with pre-existing conditions are protected."
"As premiums, drug costs, and other health costs continue to rise, it's clear to me that the status quo is unsustainable and our healthcare system must be reformed," said Rep. Knight "However, fundamental disagreements with many parts of the ACA should not blind us from realizing that the law did take certain steps in the right direction in specific areas, particularly in protecting patients with pre-existing conditions and ensuring people won't be denied coverage because of their health status. A genetic condition, cancer, or other unavoidable situation should not bar an individual from receiving health insurance or treatment that they would otherwise have had access to. A central principle we must adhere to while addressing healthcare policy is increasing competition and choices for patients to drive costs down and quality of care up. At the same time, we should keep in place the insurance protections that patients with any and all health conditions have relied on for the past several years. I'd like to thank my colleagues for joining me in introducing this important piece of legislation."