WASHINGTON, DC – This week, House Democrats will force a vote on H.R. 986, which is misleadingly titled the Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act. However, this bill is not about protecting people with pre-existing conditions, it’s about eliminating health care choices for states.
The bill would revoke the Trump administration’s updated guidance for Section 1332 waivers. These waivers make it easier for states to repair their markets damaged by Obamacare and to pursue innovative strategies for providing their residents with access to high quality, affordable health insurance while retaining basic patient protections.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) highlighting its support for protecting those with pre-existing conditions and the absurdity of the Democrats’ bill title:
The President has repeatedly made clear that this Administration will protect people with pre-existing conditions. The 2018 guidance in no way alters the guardrails in place for those with pre-existing conditions, and it would not allow the Administration to waive the requirements in place around pre-existing conditions. The title of this legislation gives the misleading impression that it will enhance healthcare protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma also released a letter reaffirming this:
To be very clear, the 2018 guidance does nothing to erode the PPACA’s pre-existing condition provisions. which cannot be waived under section 1332. Section 1332 does not permit states to waive Public Health Service Act requirements such as guaranteed availability and renewability of health insurance, the prohibition on using health status to vary premiums, and the prohibition on pre-existing conditions exclusions. Furthermore, a section 1332 waiver cannot be approved that might otherwise undermine these requirements. This Administration stands committed to protecting people with pre-existing conditions.
It’s clear: Democrats would rather play politics and limit the ability of states to innovate and develop health care choices that have worked to lower premiums.