The End of Unconditional Health Care

How have you enjoyed the last several years without pre-existing conditions limiting your health care costs and access? Hope you weren’t too attached because sounds like Senate Republicans have other plans.

Earlier this year, the Center for American Progress put together projections on what that would mean for various pre-existing conditions, and one was for a 40 year old with an autistic disorder: an extra $5,510 a year or a 135% premium surcharge.

A screenshot of a redlined copy of the bill text, with pre-existing condition language circled, is below (linked text leads to the Twitter account of Topher Spiro, who posted it Friday morning).

People will tell you not to worry, that it will surely be removed through amendments, but why is it in there in the first place?! What kind of person doesn’t recognize an extra $17k in premiums for the pre-existing condition of prior pregnancy with no complications prices out even women who don’t plan to become pregnant. And don’t get me started on people with prior cancers who receive a death sentence with this “don’t worry, we can take it out” language.

The pre-existing condition head fake, in the end, is a way to give the more moderate Republican senators a victory when they demand its removal and get it. The third major repeal and replace bill will still contain deep, despicable cuts to Medicaid that will gut access to health care for tens of millions of people.

If you’re not eligible for Medicaid, don’t have insurance through your job, and don’t make enough money to buy insurance, guess what happens? You can’t afford to see a doctor.

I once spoke to a woman who worked at a health care advocacy organization and she told me every single person who worked for the 30-40 employee non-profit had a story about someone they knew personally who had died after a lapse in coverage caused them to delay care until they had a job with benefits.

Really think about that.

= Not someone who had to deal with a minor ailment for too long without health care.

= Not someone who had delayed elective surgery because of a lack in health insurance.

= Not even someone who spent unnecessary months in pain waiting for health coverage.

No, they all knew a person who had died due to lack of health insurance, almost all from unchecked cancer that had started at some point during a year or more lapse in coverage. I’ll never forget it. The woman I met had a friend who had to deal with painful headaches, putting treatment on hold until he had health insurance. Unfortunately that man is dead.

It’s amazing that some senators are so committed to reducing the deficit that they will cut health care for 20 million people, and yet spend that same money on tax breaks for rich people.

I can’t believe we are still even talking about repealing the Affordable Care Act. Sen. McCain, who is totally going to vote for this, should be ashamed of himself.

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