Those who want to repeal ObamaCare due to being upset with the cost or the mandate should think carefully about why guaranteed coverage for preexisting conditions matters.
Here are a few facts about preexisting conditions that help paint a quick picture of how it used to be before the ban on preexisting conditions and how it could be again in the future.
- While preexisting conditions include things like “having hey fever once”. See a list of preexisting conditions that affect life insurance. It is a mind-numbingly long list that includes every condition under the sun. This is what is at stake if the ACA repealed.
- Studies have shown that as many as 1 in 2 Americans have a health condition that qualifies as a pre-existing condition. More specifically, according to a 2011 HHS report, anywhere from 50 to 129 million (19 to 50 percent) of Americans under age 65 have some type of pre-existing condition. Meanwhile, 48 to 86 percent of people ages 55 to 64 live with a pre-existing condition. Meanwhile, many seniors over 65 live with a preexisting condition.
- Before the Affordable Care Act nearly 1 in 5 Americans with preexisting condition was uninsured. As of December 2016, the total uninsured rate is at an all-time low of less than 10%.
- A 2007 study found that about 36% of American surveyed had been turned down or charged a higher price due to preexisting conditions and 85 percent of adults with incomes under 200 percent of poverty who tried to buy coverage on the individual market never purchased it. When people point out that coverage used to be cheaper before the ACA, they typically don’t tell this part of the story.
- The only loophole under the old system was to go work for a large employer (as they could provide guaranteed coverage). So if you think being forced to work for a large employer until you turn 65 is a good thing then support a full ACA repeal, if you think it isn’t, consider learning about our fix.
In short, yes, preexisting conditions did cause costs to rise for those who were sick in the past, but that is because so many sick were previously pushed out of the market or forced into a large company to ensure their coverage. The old system was unfair, the new GOP “fixes” for preexisting conditions are also unfair, we must move forward with a healthcare reform plan that does not jeopardize our sickest and poorest in an effort to keep the costs down for the rest of us.