Senator: It's time to get real about pre-existing conditions

Remember when Democrats promised that if you liked your plan or your doctor you could keep them? Now they're...

Posted: Nov 1, 2018 1:12 AM
Updated: Nov 1, 2018 1:12 AM

Remember when Democrats promised that if you liked your plan or your doctor you could keep them? Now they're pushing another bogus claim, accusing Republicans of wanting to take away health insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Here's the truth: everyone — Republicans and Democrats — support protecting people with pre-existing conditions.

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Government and public administration

Government health insurance

Health and medical

Health care

Health care policy and law

Health care reform

Health insurance

Insurance

Law and legal system

Medicare

Obamacare

Political organizations

Political platforms and issues

Politics

Social assistance and welfare

Society

US Democratic Party

US political parties

US Republican Party

Way back in 2009, Republicans proposed a health care plan "to guarantee all Americans, regardless of pre-existing conditions or past illnesses, have access to affordable coverage." A 2009 news report noted that President Obama's plan to provide insurance coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions would "borrow from" Senator John McCain's 2008 platform. When Democrats presented the framework of Obamacare in September 2009, the Republican response laid out "four important areas where we can agree." The very first one was that "All individuals should have access to coverage, regardless of pre-existing conditions."

Republicans supported these protections then, and they continue to support them now. The reason Democrats are claiming otherwise and trying to rewrite history is simple: They're trying to protect the status quo created by Obamacare and set the stage for a single-payer health care system. They're using the nine pages of Obamacare that deal with pre-existing conditions to defend the entire law -- all 961 pages.

That's silly. We don't have to protect Obamacare to protect people with pre-existing conditions. I have introduced and supported other legislation to achieve that goal. And further, many people with pre-existing conditions have been losers under Obamacare.

One Colorado woman with a pre-existing condition had been covered by a high-risk pool for years, but her insurance plan was canceled under Obamacare. "Since then, my premiums skyrocketed. In 2017, I paid $735 a month with total out-of-pocket costs of $5,500. In 2018, my premiums went up to $1,100 a month with a deductible of $6,300," said Janet. "I have to spend $19,500 before my insurance pays anything, and it doesn't cover all my prescription costs. My old plan was almost a third of what I have to pay now."

After four-year-old Colette in Virginia was diagnosed with cancer, her family became entangled in a nightmare of insurance company red tape that reflects both problems with Obamacare and the risks of letting the political uncertainty around health care continue. Their only option for health insurance did not cover the only local hospital with a pediatric cancer unit. They had to consider moving to a new zip code just to get the coverage they needed.

Americans don't have to be stuck forever with high deductibles, eye-popping premiums and fewer choices, but increasingly the only change to the status quo Democrats support is "Medicare for all." It may sound nice, but it's actually a plan to end Medicare as we know it. Not only do studies show it would cost more than $32 trillion over 10 years, but taxes on families would have to be doubled or tripled to pay for it. Everyone who gets health insurance through their job would be kicked off their plan. And Medicare — a critically important program seniors rely on that is already projected to run out of money in just eight years — would in a few short years have to cover everyone in the country. The reality is that "Medicare for all" is Medicare for none.

Instead of more government-run health care, we need to give patients the power. Right now, the system is rigged in favor of lawyers and lobbyists — and against patients. Since 2009, the stock values of major health care companies have gone up more than 1,100%, and in one case, 4,000%. Meanwhile, some families' insurance premiums have gone up year after year.

Giving patients the power will lower their costs. We should increase price transparency so that patients can shop around and know the price of a visit or test before they get it, not six weeks later when they get a bill in the mail. We should go after monopolies so that companies have to compete for a patient's business instead of charging whatever they want.

We should give states flexibility to customize their programs while protecting people with pre-existing conditions, just like we have for years with the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). And we should reduce the cost of prescriptions by cracking down on the gimmicks drug makers use to game the system.

With a Republican-led House and Senate, we've already made some progress toward lowering health care costs. We passed legislation prohibiting gag clauses that ban pharmacists from telling customers they could save money on their prescription by paying cash. By ensuring patients are no longer kept in the dark, we're giving patients the power to make better choices. That's how we should approach more reforms.

The big companies and special interest groups may not like it, but they've reaped record profits from the current system they worked with Democrats to create. Meanwhile, too many Americans are still uninsured, too many families have coverage that is too expensive to be meaningful, and too many patients are struggling to pay their medical bills.

Democrats want to double down on this status quo. Republicans want to pass solutions that lower health care costs for families and give patients the power. That's the difference at stake in the midterm elections — and it has nothing to do with pre-existing conditions.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 147582

Reported Deaths: 3937
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion24410780
Lake12911350
St. Joseph8651154
Elkhart8281130
Allen7756221
Hamilton5872113
Vanderburgh547750
Tippecanoe346414
Monroe316238
Hendricks3116130
Johnson2947127
Porter288948
Clark280857
Delaware277174
Vigo245534
Madison224587
Cass220120
LaPorte208853
Warrick185362
Floyd170865
Kosciusko169221
Howard155366
Bartholomew137557
Dubois133423
Marshall129826
Henry120728
Boone117748
Grant116839
Wayne114923
Hancock112844
Noble110033
Jackson106412
Morgan90840
Dearborn89528
Daviess82732
Gibson8229
Clinton80116
Shelby76929
Lawrence76732
LaGrange76114
Harrison72924
Putnam69415
Knox68610
DeKalb67411
Posey6695
Steuben5798
Miami5655
Montgomery55722
Fayette55615
White55615
Jasper5264
Greene50537
Scott50313
Decatur49339
Adams4555
Clay4266
Whitley4246
Ripley4138
Sullivan40612
Wells4045
Orange38124
Starke3787
Wabash3769
Spencer3656
Huntington3645
Franklin35925
Jennings35813
Washington3452
Randolph3318
Jefferson3275
Fulton3232
Pike31512
Carroll30513
Perry28214
Jay2756
Fountain2733
Tipton26123
Parke2152
Newton20511
Vermillion2031
Owen1991
Rush1984
Martin1930
Blackford1843
Crawford1401
Pulaski1401
Brown1283
Ohio1167
Benton1060
Union1010
Switzerland840
Warren721
Unassigned0233

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 181787

Reported Deaths: 5067
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin30590635
Cuyahoga19212671
Hamilton15890338
Montgomery9883184
Lucas8058370
Butler7856122
Summit6406260
Warren393360
Stark3605178
Mahoning3567283
Marion332149
Pickaway294646
Delaware275927
Lorain262389
Fairfield254156
Licking241065
Wood240181
Clark231654
Clermont225936
Trumbull2174134
Greene210840
Columbiana207887
Allen195873
Miami191056
Lake184757
Medina175542
Portage153067
Mercer143327
Ross130533
Wayne125968
Richland125724
Tuscarawas117822
Athens11452
Erie111453
Darke108850
Madison101314
Hancock97520
Auglaize92716
Lawrence88524
Putnam86127
Shelby85014
Geauga81950
Muskingum8174
Scioto7709
Belmont76827
Union7203
Ashtabula71348
Huron6909
Sandusky69022
Seneca57614
Preble57417
Ottawa55930
Holmes53710
Fulton4726
Henry44217
Jefferson4384
Defiance43713
Clinton42013
Jackson4197
Fayette4188
Crawford4088
Logan3923
Champaign3783
Highland3714
Ashland3705
Brown3583
Knox35215
Perry35011
Washington32423
Morrow3222
Williams3124
Hardin30913
Coshocton28612
Pike2780
Wyandot27813
Gallia27413
Guernsey2688
Van Wert2153
Meigs20512
Adams1936
Hocking1899
Carroll1887
Paulding1791
Monroe14118
Noble1120
Vinton853
Harrison763
Morgan690
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 46°
Angola
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 45°
Huntington
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 46°
Decatur
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 44°
Van Wert
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 44°
Cloudy Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events