Pre-existing Conditions Latest Victim in War on Truth


Most Americans would agree that the best thing about ObamaCare was the elimination of pre-existing conditions as an excuse for denial of healthcare insurance. That may be the only good thing about ObamaCare.

Republicans are just as pleased with reassuring Americans about their pre-existing conditions as Democrats. But Democrats are working hard to convince voters that any attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare is an attempt to eliminate pre-existing conditions protections.

Karl Rove, writing in The Wall Street Journal, says Democratic mid-term campaign ads are promoting this fiction. One Arizona ad says Martha McSally, the Republican congresswoman running for Senate, “voted to gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions.” Another, in North Dakota, accuses GOP Senate nominee Kevin Kramer of “voting five times to let insurance companies deny coverage to people with conditions like cancer.”

This fiction is being promoted all over the country by Democratic candidates because they recognize this is a hot-button issue. It doesn’t matter that these statements are completely false.

Rove explains: “The pre-existing conditions offensive against the GOP is based on its votes to repeal ObamaCare. But the truth is that Ms. McSally, Mr. Cramer and every Republican in Congress who voted for repeal also voted to require states to provide protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The GOP approach was to let each state figure out how best to accomplish this under a federal system that worked better than the Affordable Care Act. Republicans trusted leaders in state capitals to do better than Washington for the people of their states.

The ObamaCare system of protections for pre-existing conditions also ensured people didn’t have to enroll in healthcare plans until they got sick. Then they could signup for treatment and not be denied coverage. This would be like purchasing fire insurance for your house after the house is on fire! This “gaming of the system” forced other enrollees to pay more for their coverage.

Rove argues that the GOP should tell Americans they can cover their pre-existing conditions without the damage ObamaCare has inflicted. They must convince voters they want to improve the system, not just scrap it. One way to do this would be to require state plans for protection of pre-existing conditions meet certain federal standards.

It’s also important for Republicans to make this issue personal. They have friends and family members who need pre-existing condition coverage, too. Missouri Attorney General and Senate candidate Josh Hawley recently did this in response to attacks by his opponent, Senator Claire McCaskill. He revealed that one of his sons was recently diagnosed with a rare bone disease. He acknowledged that he had joined a lawsuit to declare ObamaCare unconstitutional. But he said that because of his personal experience, “I will never support taking away health insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.”

This issue has raised healthcare to an important subject on the campaign trail even though other issues, like immigration, the environment, and the economy get more attention in the media. Let’s not let misinformation be the deciding factor in this important election.

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