House Republicans will stage a vote on legislation this week to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the landmark piece of legislation signed into law last year. It will probably pass the House and die in the Senate. And if it doesn’t die in the Senate, then the President will, rightly, veto it.
And so, this week, Democrats are ramping up efforts to revisit this battle, getting ready to do a better job of selling the legislation than the first time around. One such reason to keep the law, Democrats will contend, has to do with preexisting conditions. Preexisting conditions are usually a roadblock for people to procure reasonably priced health care coverage. The thinking goes amongst insurers, why would we possibly want to insure someone who’s already sick? It’s just going to cost us money, and we won’t make any money off of those policyholders. As a result, the policy is astronomically expensive (for minimal coverage), if it’s available at all. So, even if you’re sick, and have the money, you may not be able to get a decent policy at a fair price.
The health care reform bill changed that last year. It will prohibit insurance companies from using preexisting conditions to deny coverage to patients. And the Department of Health and Human Services is set to release a report today that nearly 129,000,000 Americans, nearly 42% of the population under the age of 65, can be considered to have a preexisting condition.
Republicans will dismiss the number, saying that it’s grandstanding and dirty politics. But I’m inclined to believe it based off of what a friend of mine experienced this past summer. She was in the market to buy health care insurance, and she wasn’t able to do so at a reasonable price (less than $500 a month) because she, had already been treated for a skin condition, and she had had kidney stones. And for this, she was deemed ‘uninsurable’ by every insurance company that she contacted. At the ripe old age of 29. Not 79, not 69, not even 49, but 29. So, Republicans, go ahead, and vote on your silly little bill. It won’t go anywhere, and support for repealing it is melting away like snow in April. But, by all means, pander to your base. This bill actually will help those 129 million Americans get insurance at a price that won’t bankrupt them. And give Democrats yet another edge heading into the next cycle.