U.S. Representative Rodney L. Davis (IL - 13) issued the following announcement on May 9.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today supported lowering costs and increasing health insurance options for people with and without pre-existing conditions. Davis voted against H.R. 986 because it would prevent more states from innovating to lower health care costs and offering more health insurance options.
“As the husband of a cancer survivor, it’s incredibly unfortunate that Democrats are more focused on perpetuating a lie about pre-existing conditions, than they are about lowering health care costs and increasing options for the American people,” said Davis. “This bill only prevents states from innovating and offering more affordable options. Democrats can continue to pretend Obamacare is working seamlessly, but people with and without pre-existing conditions in my district have seen costs rise 108% since the law was implemented and now every county I represent only has one or two insurance providers. The eight States that have chosen to innovate saw costs decrease by an average of 20%. We should be helping more states lower costs and increase options so more people have access to health insurance they can afford.”
To date, eight states have active waivers and it’s helped them reduce costs and increase options. For example, Alaska experienced a 26 percent premium reduction, Minnesota saw its rate increase reduced to 11.3 percent, significantly less than its 2017 57 percent increase; and, Oregon’s rate changes ranged from 1.6 to 14.8 percent, dropping to a range of 9.6 to 10.1 percent for 2019.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Seema Verma stated in a letter to Congress exactly why this bill does nothing to help people with pre-existing conditions and would actually harm them by forcing them to continue to pay higher rates. The following are excerpts from her letter:
The law explicitly prevents people from being discriminated against.
“To be very clear, the 2018 guidance does nothing to erode the PPACA's pre-existing condition provisions, which cannot be waived under section 1332. Section 1332 does not permit states to waive Public Health Service Act requirements such as guaranteed availability and renewability of health insurance, the prohibition on using health status to vary premiums, and the prohibition on pre-existing conditions exclusions. Furthermore, a section 1332 waiver cannot be approved that might otherwise undermine these requirements. This Administration stands committed to protecting people with pre-existing conditions.
“Section 1332 of the PPACA provides the discretion to approve a section 1332 state waiver plan if the following four statutory guardrails are met: affordability, comprehensiveness, coverage. and federal deficit neutrality. Section 1332 allows states to develop new healthcare programs and solutions that would be not permissible without a section 1332 waiver.”
Increases in costs have priced people with and without pre-existing conditions out of the market.
“In 20l9, the average monthly premium for a benchmark plan for a family of four on HealthCare.gov is now over $1,500, which can easily exceed a family's mortgage. There are many areas of the country with far higher monthly premiums. For example, a 60-year-old couple living in Grand Island, Nebraska, making $70,000 a year, will need to pay over $3.000 per month for the lowest cost silver plan available. That's almost $38,000 per year for a plan with an $ 11,100 deductible. That's over half their income.”
Why further guidance by HHS was needed.
“Unfortunately, guidance issued under the prior Administration in December 2015 (the 2015 guidance) regarding section 1332 waivers had the effect of significantly restricting the innovation states could pursue. The prior Administration imposed a one-size-fits-all approach to these waivers, making it difficult for states to address the specific needs of their residents. In October, the Administration issued guidance under section 1332 of the PPACA to provide states with significant opportunities to chart a different course for their markets through expanded flexibility. Section 1332 and the 2018 guidance ensure that consumers who wish to retain coverage similar to that provided under the PPACA can do so, but they empower states to take steps to stabilize their markets and allow more affordable coverage options that may be more attractive to individuals and families priced out of the current market, including people with pre-existing conditions.”
Original source can be found here.