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Knight Introduces Bill to Protect Pre-Existing Condition Coverage

Legislation prohibits denial of insurance coverage and guarantees community rating to vulnerable patients

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Washington, DC, September 26, 2018 | Chris Jusuf (202-225-1956) | comments
On Wednesday, September 26, 2018, Representative Steve Knight (R-CA) Introduced H.R. 6898, the Maintaining Protections for Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions Act of 2018.

Currently, twenty states are filing a lawsuit in federal court arguing that the entirety of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional. If these suits succeed, there is a risk that patients with pre-existing conditions would be stripped of certain protections afforded by the ACA.

The Maintaining Protections for Patients with Pre-existing Conditions Act would duplicate statutes for pre-existing conditions protections in federal law by amending the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) so they remain operative in the event the ACA is struck down in court.

Specifically, H.R. 6898 prohibits coverage denial, risk-rating, and exclusions or limitations of coverage to patients based on pre-existing conditions or any other health factor, including health status, medical condition, claims experience, medical history, genetic information, and disability. This bill maintains current law allowances for premium rate variations based on age, tobacco use, and area of residence.

Original cosponsors of H.R. 6898 include Rep. Bull Huizenga (R-MI), Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA), Rep. David Valadao (R-CA), Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), and Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH).

"As premiums, drug costs, and other health costs continue to rise, it's clear to me that the status quo is unsustainable and our healthcare system must be reformed," said Rep. Knight "However, fundamental disagreements with many parts of the ACA should not blind us from realizing that the law did take certain steps in the right direction in specific areas, particularly in protecting patients with pre-existing conditions and ensuring people won't be denied coverage because of their health status. A genetic condition, cancer, or other unavoidable situation should not bar an individual from receiving health insurance or treatment that they would otherwise have had access to. A central principle we must adhere to while addressing healthcare policy is increasing competition and choices for patients to drive costs down and quality of care up. At the same time, we should keep in place the insurance protections that patients with any and all health conditions have relied on for the past several years. I'd like to thank my colleagues for joining me in introducing this important piece of legislation."

"Preventing West Michigan residents from being denied health care coverage because of a pre-existing condition is very important to me." said Rep. Huizenga "The Maintaining Protections for Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions Act protects Americans with a pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage while also taking important steps to lower costs and prevent price gouging."

"Although there are strong differences of opinion about the best way to fix our broken health care system, we can all agree that nobody should be denied health coverage based on their pre-existing medical conditions." said Rep. Curtis "This legislation is a common-sense solution that will protect Utahns and Americans throughout the country and I’m proud to join with my colleagues to introduce it."

“I have always supported coverage for pre-existing conditions,” said Rep. Denham “This bill guarantees those protections, regardless of legal actions, as we continue to focus on bringing more physicians to the Central Valley and improving access to quality care.”

"Individuals with pre-existing conditions must be assured they can obtain and keep their health care insurance no matter what." said Rep. Walters "Today, my colleagues and I reaffirmed our commitment to protecting these individuals by introducing this important legislation.  We will continue to fight for access to affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans, regardless of health status."

Standing up for Missourians with pre-existing conditions has been a top priority for me in Congress,” said Rep. Wagner.  “I have consistently advocated for and supported legislation that protects the most vulnerable among us and ensures people with pre-existing conditions can have access to the health insurance they need, without exception.  Today’s bill is just the latest example of my commitment to families in Missouri who need access to health insurance, and I applaud Rep. Knight for introducing it,” added Wagner. By codifying protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions in HIPAA, we are ensuring that anyone with a pre-existing condition is protected against being denied coverage or charged more for their conditions.

"As we move forward towards reforms to expand health care options and make coverage more affordable, I am committed to ensuring those with pre-existing conditions are protected.said Rep. Blum.

"Throughout my time in Congress, I have consistently said we must maintain protections for those with pre-existing conditions." said Rep. Renacci "28% of Ohioans are estimated to have a pre-existing condition, and they should not be denied access to health insurance because of this. I was glad to join a number of my House colleagues in sponsoring this legislation and making clear that we must maintain such protections while working to reform and fix our broken health care system, which Obamacare has failed to do."

Previously, Representative Knight cosponsored similar legislation, H.R. 1121, the Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act of 2017, and H.Res. 1066, expressing the sense of Congress that protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions should be preserved.
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