ICYMI: Cramer and Others “Scrambling To Rewrite Their Record On Pre-Existing Conditions” [HuffPost]

(BISMARCK, ND) – Attention Kevin Cramer: Your attempts to rewrite your record of jeopardizing coverage for folks with pre-existing conditions won’t work. As HuffPost points out, “voters aren’t likely to believe they suddenly care about pre-existing conditions, just because they say they do.”

HuffPost: GOP Senate Candidates Are Scrambling To Rewrite Their Record On Pre-Existing Conditions
By Jonathan Cohn and Kevin Robillard
September 2, 2018

  • All across the country, Republicans running for Congress are promising voters they will look out for people with pre-existing conditions while supporting some combination of legislation, litigation and regulation that would undermine those very protections.
  • The stakes are high, with the livelihoods ― and lives ― of many Americans depending on the outcome. The ACA rewrote the rules for insurers selling plans directly to individuals and families so that carriers could no longer deny coverage or otherwise discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.
  • [Republican] haven’t given up, even though last year’s effort failed. Just this week, Vice President Mike Pence reaffirmed the party’s determination to take up repeal in 2019 if they still control Congress. In the meantime, the Trump administration has been using its executive authority to undermine pre-existing condition protections unilaterally ― most recently, by effectively creating a parallel market with plans that don’t live up to the ACA’s standards.
  • These plans generally aren’t available to people with pre-existing conditions and don’t include many essential benefits, which means people who manage to get them are risking financial ruin if they get seriously ill. And by drawing healthy people out of the broader pool, these new plans will force insurers to jack up rates, forcing people with pre-existing conditions to pay more for coverage.
  • That’s not the only threat to the ACA right now. There’s also the lawsuitthat Hawley, along with officials from 19 other politically conservative states [including North Dakota], has co-signed.
  • The political problem for Republicans is that voters aren’t likely to believe they suddenly care about pre-existing conditions, just because they say they do. 
  • And voters have said they’ll make politicians who don’t protect pre-existing conditions pay: In a Kaiser Family Foundation poll earlier this month, 89 percent of registered voters said “continuing protections for people with pre-existing health conditions” would be a factor in their vote, and 63 percent said it would be an important factor. Nearly half of Republicans, 64 percent of independents and 74 percent of Democrats said it would be an important factor in their vote.
  • This is a frequent Republican contention, arguing repeal isn’t tantamount to abandoning people with pre-existing conditions. But their proposals would still allow insurers to discriminate against people with medical problems ― by, for example, charging higher prices to people with certain conditions or leaving out key benefits, like prescription coverage, that would make plans effectively useless to people who need ongoing treatment.
  • “If you leave any loopholes open, insurers will take full advantage, and people with health needs will quickly find the coverage they need to be inaccessible, unaffordable or both,” said Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at Georgetown’s Center for Health Insurance Reform.
  • The question for the midterms is whether voters will notice that Republicans are making the same empty promises as before.

Read the full article here.