Burgess: Obamacare Should Honor 'Pre-existing' Coverage Program

Friday, 19 Apr 2013 06:00 PM

By Melanie Batley and Kathleen Walter

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Rep. Michael Burgess slammed Obamacare as “bad news from top to bottom,” but he called for adding $4 billion to the program to take care of the 65,000 people with pre-existing conditions that are currently being denied coverage they were promised.

In an interview with Newsmax TV, the Texas Republican said the extra money was needed after the pre-existing coverage program, a center piece of Obamacare, blew through its $5 billion budget in January and closed its doors to new members.

A bill Burgess is pushing though the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week, proposes to re-open the program and fund it by reallocating money currently in the Obamacare Prevention and Public Health Fund.

The pre-existing program would need to be funded only until Jan. 1, 2014, when private insurers will be barred from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions under Obamcare.

“Our contention is, if you have this money, why don’t you continue to help these people to whom you’ve already made a promise and carry them through the end of the year,” Burgess told Newsmax.

“All we’re saying is, rather than spend the money on advertising for free stuff next year, why don’t we spend those dollars on taking care of the people to whom you made a promise, that now you’re not going to deliver on that promise.” he added.

But many conservative groups opposed to Obamacare, including the Club for Growth, criticize the move to add or reallocate money to the program and urge that it be repealed, not fixed.
Burgess agreed with that view, saying, “There’s no way in the world you can make this thing better. Ultimately the law needs to go away.”

But he said it's important in the meantime to honor the promise already made.

My ultimate goal would be, let’s get rid of this bad law because of all the devastation it is going to cause in our economy and all the freedom that it’s going to rob," he said. "But right now you’ve got these people that were promised they would be helped with their insurance, and then they said to those, ‘Sorry, the door is closed,’” he added.

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