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Heinrich: TrumpCare Puts More Than 6 Million People With Pre-Existing Conditions At Risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 18, 2017) — Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) called on Senate Republicans to protect the more than six million people with pre-existing conditions from TrumpCare's harmful impacts. According to a report released this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation, people with pre-existing conditions could face higher insurance premiums and experience a gap in coverage under the Republican bill that passed the House with President Trump's support. In New Mexico, this would mean more than 300,000 people with pre-existing conditions could see an increase to their insurance premiums.

"Under TrumpCare you could see your health insurance premiums go up if you have diabetes, depression, heart disease, or even if you are pregnant," said Senator Heinrich. "This disastrous health care bill would take away critical protections for people with pre-existing conditions and offer as a replacement underfunded high-risk pools – where they will likely receive limited coverage and face higher costs."

"The American Health Care Act would be a big step backward to the days when people with pre-existing conditions could not get affordable coverage," said James Jimenez, Executive Director of New Mexico Voices for Children. "Babies are born every day—through no fault of their own or their parents—with pre-existing conditions. It would be cruel and fiscally irresponsible to deny them the care they need to maximize their opportunities for a robust, productive life. We've seen how the Affordable Care Act has improved child health and well-being here in New Mexico. This bill would erase many of those gains."

"The notion that you would charge higher rates for someone who has a pre-existing condition is outrageous. By increasing premiums you turn a health condition into a more expensive condition and drive health care costs up. This bill would put health care out of reach for those in New Mexico who need it most and disproportionately impacts women, children, and older adults," said Barbara Webber, Executive Director of Health Action New Mexico.

The Republican health care bill, which narrowly passed the House last month, allows states to waive the community rating provision of the Affordable Care Act, which prevents insurers from charging more for those with pre-existing conditions. States waiving community rating would be required to set up a mechanism to subsidize the cost of high-risk enrollees, such as a high-risk pool, or participate in a reinsurance arrangement that makes payments directly to insurers. States are not required to set up an alternative source of coverage for people who face higher premiums based on their health.

In their report, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 6.3 million people could potentially face higher premiums under the Republican health care bill due to pre-existing health conditions. People with pre-existing conditions would likely face large premium surcharges under a waiver in the Republican health care bill, according to the analysis, as insurers would be unable to decline coverage based on a person's medical history.

The new analysis also identifies that those with pre-existing conditions now buying their own insurance could be at risk of higher premiums. It finds that an estimated 3.8 million adults had a pre-existing condition that could subject them to higher premiums if they don't maintain continuous coverage.

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