Dem-NPLers Call for Protections of Coverage for Pre-existing Conditions; NDGOP Attack on Access to Affordable Healthcare Continues   

BISMARCK, ND — Dem-NPL Legislative Candidates today called for protections for coverage of pre-existing conditions no matter what happens in Washington, D.C. and in the November election. Currently, under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies cannot charge higher rates or deny coverage because of a pre-existing health condition. COVID-19 is having long term consequences that will be considered pre-existing conditions. More than 20,000 people in North Dakota have tested positive for the virus. 

While NDGOP leaders support the lawsuit to repeal the ACA, also part of the NDGOP platform, they have not introduced a solution to deal with the repercussions when tens of thousands of North Dakotans lose coverage, protections for pre-existing conditions are eliminated, and rural hospitals lose much-needed funding from Medicaid expansion. In the 2019 legislative session, the Dem-NPL introduced the Holman Amendment to protect coverage of pre-existing conditions regardless of the outcome. North Dakota Republicans stopped this bill from passing.

The press conference was broadcast on Facebook Live and can be viewed on the Dem-NPL Facebook page.

Terri Hedman, candidate for District 46 Senate, and a registered nurse, said:

“The bill would prevent any gaps in coverage that could threaten life or livelihood while also protecting the ability for people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage in the future. It’s a simple bill and a plan that will keep healthcare secure for tens of thousands of North Dakotans, which is especially important as we continue through the public health crisis.”

Krisanna Holkup Peterson is the District 32 House candidate, a paraprofessional for students with disabilities, and mother of a son with significant health needs. Holkup Peterson said, 

“Mothers, fathers, grandparents, and other caregivers regularly have to work this hard and harder to access healthcare, and before the Affordable Care Act, it was even more expensive for people with pre-existing conditions because their care is often more specialized, harder to access, and more expensive. Protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions is an important step that should have already been taken.”

Jodi Meisch, House District 22 candidate, and an advocate for people who are deaf and hard of hearing, said, 

“Providing assurance of coverage, regardless of medical history, is more than good policy for one of the most highly regarded states in our first world country. It is a human rights commitment that has provided positive outcomes for many years, and it would be a disservice to the American guarantee of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness to eliminate it without a replacement plan. North Dakota’s entire population, especially those already excluded behind barriers to equality and accessibility, deserve to live without fear of exclusion, yet again, from accessible and affordable health care coverage.”

Alan Peterson is running for House District 26 against two of the Republicans who voted against protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions. Peterson, who talked about the challenges to access for affordable healthcare faced by rural North Dakotans, said,

“For farmers, who are independent business people, insurance is already expensive. One farmer from District 26 shared he pays $25,000 a year for health insurance. He’s not alone. But 33 Republicans voted against making insurance companies keep premiums affordable by not allowing extra charges for pre-existing conditions. My opponents in District 26 were two of the 33. The Affordable Care Act is at risk. We know that. Good leaders hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. This small assurance should have already been in place.” 

Republicans voted against this bill

D4: Rep. Clayton Fegley, Rep. Terry Jones
D6: Rep. Craig Johnson
D8: Rep. Jeff Delzer 
D16: Rep.  Ben Koppelman, Rep. Andrew Marschall 
D18: Rep. Steve Vetter 
D20: Rep. Aaron McWilliams
D26: Rep. Sebastian Ertlet, Rep. Kathy Skroch 
D28: Rep. Jeff Magrum 
D32: Rep. Lisa Meier
D34: Rep. Todd Porter, Rep. Nathan Toman 
D36: Rep. Mike Schatz, Rep. Luke Simons
D38: Rep. Larry Bellow, Rep. Dan Ruby
D40: Rep. Matthew Ruby
D46: Rep. Jim Kasper