ObamaCare Fails to Protect Pre-existing Conditions

 

In my last post, Pre-existing Conditions Latest Victim in War on Truth, I talked about the importance of protecting pre-existing conditions coverage. ObamaCare made an issue of this problem, and rightly so, but it didn’t go far enough.

Democrats are misleading voters by rousing fears that they will lose their pre-existing coverage if ObamaCare is repealed. But the truth is that ObamaCare has failed to adequately protect some people from this devastating problem.

Grace-Marie Turner, writing in Forbes, tells how ObamaCare failed to deliver in producing a sensible and sustainable mechanism to support pre-existing protections. After creating a temporary high risk pool that ended in 2014, it then permanently shoved their extra costs onto other Americans who are now struggling to afford coverage.

She tells the story of a woman, named Janet, who wrote to her about why ObamaCare isn’t working.

Janet reports, “In 1999, I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C, which made me ineligible for insurance (denied for pre-existing conditions).  I live in Colorado, and they had a high-risk pool that covered people like me. I applied for that and was accepted.

“My premiums in 2010 were $275/month with a total out of pocket of $2,500.  [While I was on] this plan, my liver failed, and I needed a liver transplant. It was approved without a question.  My $600,000 transplant was covered 100% with a $2,500 out of pocket maximum!”

When Obamacare went into effect, Colorado’s high-risk pool was closed.  “I was forced into the regular marketplace that everyone was telling me was a good thing because I couldn’t get denied.  I think my first year on that policy, my premiums were in the $450 range—which I thought wasn’t too terrible, but still more than I had been paying.

“The thing I noticed from the start was that instead of full coverage, almost everything I needed was denied, which threw me into the world of having to appeal (sometimes several times) to get the basic care I needed.

“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.  Once I hit that mark, I’m covered 80%.

“Further, none of my anti-rejection meds are on the formulary of my insurance. If I could not afford them, my body would most certainly reject my liver, causing another liver transplant that would not be covered 100%.

“I don’t get any credits from the government to reduce my premiums.  Those of us who are self employed but make more than the threshold for tax credits wind up footing the whole bill ourselves.  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.

“I have many friends and work associates in the same boat as me.   Many of them are doing without insurance and are betting that they won’t need more than what they can afford to pay out of pocket.  I cannot do that, because if something happened and I needed another transplant, it would bankrupt my family.

“The system is broken beyond imagination.”

 

Even though Janet has coverage for pre-existing conditions, her access to care is worse and the cost of her coverage is much higher than before ObamaCare. This isn’t the kind of protection we were promised. Republicans are right to want to find a better healthcare system – but they must protect Americans from losing coverage for their pre-existing conditions – and do a better job of that than ObamaCare.

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