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Guaranteeing coverage to people with pre-existing conditions critical to most voters

Written by Diane Archer

According to a new Kaiser survey, a majority of voters say that a federal candidate’s position on pre-existing conditions is an important factor in their 2018 vote. Voters care more about this than they care about repealing the Affordable Care Act or passing legislation to bring down drug prices and a range of other issues. Another recent study showed that candidates’ position on health care costs is also important to voters.

It’s not clear that there is a single Republican running for Congress who supports the provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires health insurance companies to enroll people with pre-existing conditions and to charge them the same premium as everyone else. Indeed, the vast majority of Republicans want to repeal the ACA, including this provision. (N.B. A majority of voters also believe that President Trump is trying to make the ACA fail; it protects people with pre-existing conditions.)

Before the ACA was enacted, health insurers had the power under federal law to deny coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition. Or, they could offer coverage but refuse to cover services related to the pre-existing condition. And, if they enrolled people with pre-existing conditions, they could raise their premiums.

In this survey, Kaiser did not ask about the importance to voters of federal candidates’ positions on reining in health care costs, which has been a top priority, along with reining in drug costs, for several years now.

If you agree that health insurers should be required to enroll anyone who applies to enroll regardless of their health status, make sure you vote for candidates who support protecting people with pre-existing conditions. And, if you want Congress to improve and expand Medicare, so that everyone in America is guaranteed health coverage throughout their lives, without the burden of premiums, deductibles and copays, let your members of Congress know. Sign this petition. Today, 63 percent of the public supports improved Medicare for All. 

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