Tags: Healthcare Reform | steve scalise | ahca | american health care act | preexisting conditions | protection

Scalise: AHCA Protects People With Preexisting Conditions

(MSNBC)

By    |   Friday, 05 May 2017 09:21 AM

The American Health Care Act has "multiple layers of protection" for people who have preexisting conditions, but House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said many of his constituents who fall into that category say they're paying more for their insurance coverage than they paid before Obamacare.

"[Obamacare] doesn't work for them," the Louisiana Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program Friday. "They're utilizing the healthcare system more than most people. The massively high deductibles in Obamacare — in some cases over $10,000 a year — are really what's creaming them. They're going to the doctor and they're paying everything out of pocket even though they've got a very expensive insurance plan. They've got insurance that doesn't really work for them."

The AHCA still requires insurance companies to provide coverage to people with preexisting conditions, and Scalise said their costs won't go up if they already have and keep continuous coverage.

"The bill ensures that anybody who is continuously covered gets priced like anybody, whether you have a preexisting condition or not," Scalise said. "If a state wants to have some kind of waiver to have more flexibility, in our bill we give states flexibility to do an even better job rather than some one-size-fits-all. They can't waive your continuous coverage provision and you have that same protection. They have to put in place a high-risk pool to lower costs even more for people with pre-existing conditions."

Their rates will remain affordable, even with the flexibility for companies increasing state by state, Scalise said.

"If somebody drops out of the insurance market altogether and wants to come back and get in, we put extra money in place," Scalise said, explaining that the last amendment added puts an extra $8 billion to help people with preexisting conditions, so they can now get coverage "that's more affordable for them."

While the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the first version of the AHCA would cause 14 million Medicaid eligible people to lose coverage, Scalise said that the version passed by the House means relief is actually on its way.

"Anybody in America on Medicaid knows it's the most broken form of healthcare," Scalise said. "In many cases, it might be a free insurance card but very few doctors take you. In fact, I don't know of many doctors that take new Medicaid patients. You have an insurance card that's free but you can't go see anybody, so you're seeing emergency room visits are going up."

Scalise also disagreed with a contention that the new bill allows tax cuts for the nation's wealthiest by cutting Obamacare taxes.

"If somebody is making $25,000 a year, $30,000 a year is rich, maybe you need to reevaluate your definition," Scalise said. "Everybody who pays taxes will actually get a tax break because we cut the Obamacare taxes, all of them."

Meanwhile, senators are already saying the bill could be radically changed after leaving the House, and Scalise said he wishes them well if they have a better idea.

"What they're going to find is you have to build a consensus," Scalise said. "We put 217 votes on the board and it took weeks and weeks to do it because everybody's got good ideas. Some of them don't work for other people. If you have a good idea you need to find 50 other people that share your good idea."

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The American Health Care Act has "multiple layers of protection" for people who have preexisting conditions, but House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said many of his constituents who fall into that category say they're paying more for their insurance coverage than they paid...
steve scalise, ahca, american health care act, preexisting conditions, protection
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2017-21-05
Friday, 05 May 2017 09:21 AM
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