Tags: Healthcare Reform | sean spicer | pre-existing conditions | healthcare | amendment

Sean Spicer: Pre-Existing Conditions Will Be Covered in Healthcare Plan

Image: Sean Spicer: Pre-Existing Conditions Will Be Covered in Healthcare Plan
Press secretary Sean Spicer (AP Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 03 May 2017 04:24 PM

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday that pre-existing conditions would be covered in the revised Republican healthcare plan, though he would not say whether the $8 billion added would be enough to cover such high-risk pools of Americans.

"The president has made it very clear that pre-existing conditions will be covered under every scenario," Spicer told reporters at the daily press briefing in a tense exchange with CNN's Jim Acosta.

"They are going to be fine?" Acosta asked.

"Yes," Spicer replied. "There you go."

House Republicans added an amendment to the American Health Care Act Wednesday that would provide $8 billion over five years to help some people with pre-existing medical conditions afford coverage.

The addition was proposed by Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan and Bill Long of Missouri — and the moderates endorsed the languishing legislation as a result.

Upton said the amendment would put "downward pressure" on premium costs.

House Republicans could vote on the revised bill as early as Thursday.

The legislation was pulled twice from votes in March amid strong opposition from the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

Before the change, AHCA would allow states to obtain federal waivers allowing insurers to charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing illnesses who have let their coverage lapse.

To get the waiver, the state must have a high-risk pool or another method to help such people afford a policy.

Opponents have charged that would effectively deny such people coverage by letting insurers charge them unaffordable prices. They say high-risk pools have a mixed record because government money financing them often proves inadequate.

The $8 billion from the Upton-Long amendment would help people with pre-existing illnesses pay premiums in states where insurers can charge them more.

Nearly $130 billion is already earmarked for states to help people afford insurance, but critics have said that's just a fraction of what would be needed for adequate coverage.

In light of the amendment, Spicer refused to say whether the $8 billion would cover all Americans with pre-existing conditions under the plan.

"We're strengthening" AHCA, he said. "We have done everything we can to guarantee that pre-existing conditions are covered.

"If you have Obamacare right now in case after case, you are losing it," he explained. "If you have a pre-existing condition and you have a card that says Obamacare — but no one will see you, or you can't afford it — then you don't have coverage."

Spicer pointed to Jimmy Kimmel's story Tuesday about his newborn son's open heart surgery as a reason why President Donald Trump sought to ensure that pre-existing conditions would be covered under the revised healthcare bill.

"We share that concern for the Kimmel child as well as any child that needs care," he said.

"That's, frankly, why the president made sure there was an extra layer of protection for anybody with a pre-existing condition no matter their stage in life.

"That's why we're fighting so hard for this.

"But I think most importantly, and I think at the end of Jimmy Kimmel's monologue, we need to have things that are not Republican or Democrat. They are American policies.

"That's what the president is fighting for right now: to make sure we have a healthcare system where it doesn't matter where you live or your background — that it takes care of people."

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White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday that pre-existing conditions would be covered in the revised Republican healthcare plan, though he would not say whether the $8 billion added would be enough to cover such high-risk pools of Americans.
sean spicer, pre-existing conditions, healthcare, amendment
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2017-24-03
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 04:24 PM
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