The real reason Trump is talking about pre-existing conditions

On the campaign trail. In television ads. On Twitter. Everyone -- even the President -- is suddenly talking ...

Posted: Oct 25, 2018 6:29 AM
Updated: Oct 25, 2018 6:29 AM

On the campaign trail. In television ads. On Twitter. Everyone -- even the President -- is suddenly talking about pre-existing conditions.

Protecting people who are or have been sick has turned out to be among the most popular parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare -- and it's emerged as one of the top issues in the upcoming midterm election, as Democrats attack Republicans over their continued push to repeal or at least weaken the landmark 2010 law.

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Government and public administration

Health and medical

Health care

Health care policy and law

Health care reform

Health insurance

Insurance

Law and legal system

Obamacare

Political platforms and issues

Politics

Political organizations

US political parties

US Republican Party

Donald Trump

Political Figures - US

President Donald Trump on Wednesday explicitly pledged to "totally protect" people with pre-existing conditions.

Trump's enthusiasm is easy to explain. Three-quarters of Americans say that it is "very important" for the law to continue prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage because of medical histories, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation's September tracking poll -- 58% of Republicans feel the same way. And about the same share of Americans say it's "very important" that insurers continue to be barred from charging sick people more.

Democrats, at the moment, are seen by more voters as the defenders of these protections. Some 58% of respondents said they trust the party more to continue the law's provisions, compared to 26% who chose Republicans, according to a Kaiser election tracking poll released in mid-October. Among independents, some 60% said Democrats would do a better job maintaining the protections, while 19% picked Republicans.

Obamacare revolutionized health insurance for people with less-than-stellar medical histories. Under the health reform law, insurers can no longer deny coverage to consumers or charge them more because of their health backgrounds. Also, carriers are required to offer comprehensive benefits, including maternity care, mental health services and prescription drugs.

"It was a pretty fundamental change," said Erin Trish, associate director of health policy at the University of Southern California's Schaeffer Center. "It made health insurance more available to people with pre-existing conditions at a much more affordable rate."

The intense focus on these provisions in the midterms, however, has left Republicans in the tricky position of defending one of the central tenets of Obamacare, even as they continue to call for its repeal.

At the same time, the Trump administration is taking steps that could hurt those who depend on Obamacare's protections. The Justice Department is arguing that these provisions should be invalidated as part of a lawsuit brought by Republican attorneys general and governors from 20 states. And the administration is making it easier to buy short-term health plans, which have lower premiums but can deny coverage or charge higher rates based on people's health backgrounds.

Promising to protect those with pre-existing conditions also conflicts with another Republican health care promise— lowering costs. The provisions are one of the main reasons why policies on the individual market have become so pricey. Insurers had to raise rates for everyone because they could no longer cherry-pick only healthy applicants and because they had to cover a wide array of services.

Many of the GOP proposals to repeal Obamacare last year would have chipped away at or eliminated the law's ironclad defense of those with pre-existing conditions in hopes of reducing premiums. But people's fondness for this security blanket ultimately helped doom the effort in Congress.

Relatively few Americans actually take advantage of the protections each year because the vast majority are covered by employer or government insurance plans, which generally offer comprehensive benefits and don't discriminate based on medical histories. There are roughly 14.4 million people in the individual market, both on the Obamacare exchanges and outside of them.

However, many people may find themselves turning to individual insurance plans at some point in their lives, especially if they are in between jobs, are employed part-time or as contractors or work at small firms that don't have to provide benefits. Roughly 27% of adult Americans under age 65 have health conditions that would have likely left them unable to get individual market policies prior to the health reform law, according to Kaiser.

"Clearly, everyone has anxiety ... if you have employer-sponsored coverage -- which more than half the country does -- that you may at some point lose that coverage and have to buy a policy" on the individual market, said Doug Badger, senior fellow at the Galen Institute, a right-leaning think tank. "The question is whether an insurer could exclude coverage of your pre-existing medical condition."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 592709

Reported Deaths: 9340
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion818931301
Lake44495668
Allen32035543
Hamilton28533305
St. Joseph26847372
Elkhart24132341
Vanderburgh18759213
Tippecanoe17482122
Johnson14583285
Porter14464160
Hendricks13931242
Madison10600213
Vigo10513174
Clark10300132
Monroe9109108
Delaware8861133
LaPorte8825155
Howard7916138
Kosciusko788877
Warrick648290
Hancock642597
Bartholomew629294
Floyd6184105
Wayne5956157
Grant5848110
Dubois546172
Boone536367
Morgan519491
Henry496164
Marshall494984
Cass473160
Noble462157
Dearborn461344
Jackson416145
Shelby404279
Lawrence382075
Clinton366340
Gibson357856
DeKalb338563
Montgomery336651
Harrison332642
Knox328239
Miami311243
Steuben308742
Adams296535
Whitley295525
Wabash293945
Ripley293745
Putnam286847
Huntington285058
Jasper284434
White268438
Daviess262172
Jefferson253138
Decatur242882
Fayette242448
Greene235660
Posey232826
Wells230147
LaGrange224761
Clay218732
Scott217337
Randolph209041
Jennings193235
Sullivan189331
Spencer182717
Fountain180425
Washington178218
Starke172041
Jay163122
Fulton160230
Owen160137
Carroll153015
Orange152133
Rush150818
Perry148727
Vermillion145533
Franklin143833
Parke12908
Tipton128432
Pike114125
Blackford108022
Pulaski95137
Newton89721
Brown85730
Benton84510
Crawford7669
Martin70413
Warren6607
Switzerland6235
Union6145
Ohio4707
Unassigned0374

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 831066

Reported Deaths: 10281
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin97996705
Cuyahoga826131062
Hamilton61629439
Montgomery41873399
Summit33603729
Lucas30316597
Butler29859228
Stark24951413
Warren18974139
Lorain18217212
Mahoning16815336
Lake15491135
Clermont15235104
Delaware1392977
Licking12765132
Trumbull12445306
Fairfield1226080
Greene11682133
Medina11191165
Clark10648264
Wood10000154
Allen9579126
Portage8923106
Miami890573
Richland8848116
Marion7341113
Tuscarawas7162174
Columbiana7117124
Pickaway705750
Wayne6815165
Muskingum676342
Erie5943118
Hancock540490
Ross532787
Scioto523663
Geauga487755
Darke458589
Ashtabula440572
Lawrence436652
Union432828
Mercer425887
Sandusky424462
Auglaize415159
Seneca415155
Huron413638
Shelby411021
Jefferson404566
Belmont397840
Washington373140
Athens36549
Putnam365372
Madison341429
Knox337722
Ashland333838
Fulton327143
Defiance320178
Crawford315169
Preble312434
Brown298219
Logan293229
Ottawa283034
Clinton279643
Williams271166
Highland263618
Jackson258343
Guernsey244025
Champaign242827
Fayette228029
Morrow22404
Perry222618
Holmes219462
Henry211947
Hardin205033
Coshocton198920
Van Wert198044
Gallia191626
Wyandot191449
Adams165815
Pike165217
Hocking164423
Carroll150116
Paulding139921
Noble118340
Meigs103521
Monroe96129
Harrison8598
Morgan79628
Vinton67213
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 15°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 15°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 14°
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 15°
Lima
Partly Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 16°
Evening Light Snow Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events