Tags: greg walden | ahca | lower costs | pre-existing conditions

Rep. Greg Walden: Revised AHCA Plan Protects Pre-Existing Conditions

(MSNBC/"Morning Joe")

By    |   Thursday, 04 May 2017 08:39 AM

Rep. Greg Walden, one of the architects of the American Health Care Act, Thursday defended the revised measure as a bill that will bring premiums down, return insurers to the nation's insurance markets and protect people with pre-existing conditions.

"We haven't done this in secret or silence," the Oregon Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. 

"We've been reaching out for months and months saying what can we do to fix this market so that individuals have access to affordable health insurance? One out of every three counties in America, you have no choice but one. Five states you only have one choice."

Iowa, for example, may have no insurers on the individual market, said Walden.

"We can't stand idly by and say Obamacare is working," said Walden. "We have premiums that come down 10 percent. I think we're on the right track here. Obviously, it's a work in progress."

Further, he insisted that people with pre-existing conditions will remain protected through the new plan, and that a "safety net" of $8 billion for high risk pools has been added.

"This would only apply in states that seek a waiver and get it," said Walden. "They have to have a risk pool behind anything they do. We have this guarantee in place that they will be covered. If you have continuous health insurance coverage, you are fine."

There is, however, a "tiny segment" of Americans who wait until they are ill before they buy insurance companies, and states have tried to deal with that in different ways, Walden said.

"The invisible risk pools working in Maine and Alaska have worked well to bring down premiums and gain access for people," said Walden. "Ninety-three percent of Americans will never be in that situation, because they're on their employer plan, military care, whatever. They are completely protected.

"We are trying to get insurers come back into the markets and individuals will have more choices than they have today, which is getting to where they have no choice."

Walden also disagreed with claims that $8 billion will not be enough to cover the people who need coverage.

"You're only looking at the $8 billion we added in, not considering the billion dollars already there for the fund that can be used for high-risk funds," said Walden. "People will actually be able to afford it, as 19.2 million Americans say, I'll pay the IRS a penalty rather than buy the insurance."

Walden continued that he feels confident to tell someone in his district right now who suffers with a pre-existing condition that they'd be covered.

"Oregon would have to get a waiver," said Walden. "I guarantee you my state would make sure that that waiver would take care of people like that. It worked in Maine. It brought down premiums and increased coverage. That's our goal here."

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Rep. Greg Walden, one of the architects of the American Health Care Act, Thursday defended the revised measure as a bill that will bring premiums down, return insurers to the nation's insurance markets and protect people with pre-existing conditions.
greg walden, ahca, lower costs, pre-existing conditions
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2017-39-04
Thursday, 04 May 2017 08:39 AM
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