Dems way off-base scaring voters with pre-existing conditions talk, insurance expert says
Democrats have no historic or political grounds to support their campaign rhetoric that Republicans will cast aside insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, if they remain in power in Washington, D.C., Steven Tucker, founder of Health Insurance Mentors, told Dan Proft on Chicago’s Morning Answer.
“Republicans worked with Democrats for over a decade before Congress passed Obamacare to ensure that those with pre-existing conditions had coverage,” Tucker said. “In Illinois, you could get BlueCross and BlueShield coverage through ICHIP (Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan). That program was essentially eliminated with the creation of the exchanges under Obamacare.”
In 1996, Congress approved the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as HIPAA, that outlined the roles insurers and regulators were required to play to ensure those with pre-existing conditions had health care coverage. That law led to the states establishing comprehensive plans, ICHIP in Illinois, under which anyone with a pre-existing condition was guaranteed coverage through BlueCross and Blue Shield.
Changes to Obamacare by the Trump Administration, often cited by Democrats as a precursor to eliminating coverage for pre-existing conditions, have only put the health care program on a stronger financial footing and lowered premiums, Tucker says.
He cites federal waivers under Trump granted in 2017 to Alaska, and in July to Wisconsin, that allow the states to establish risk mitigation systems through reinsurance programs.
“In Alaska, insurance rates have dropped 25 percent since the establishment of its reinsurance program,” Tucker said. “Walker [Governor Scott Walker] is about to do the same for Wisconsin.”
In a July AP story, Walker said that the reinsurance program established under the waiver will stabilize the market and attract more carriers to the marketplace. Telling the AP “we’re thrilled,” he expects premiums to drop an average of 3.5 percent in 2019, after a 44 percent jump this year due to fewer providers and declining enrollment.
The Democratic campaign rhetoric is a lead-in to an unsustainable single-payer system for all, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), a physician, warns.
In a recent commentary published by CNN, Cassidy wrote that, “Americans don't have to be stuck forever with high deductibles, eye-popping premiums and fewer choices, but increasingly the only change to the status quo Democrats support is "’Medicare for all.’"
“It may sound nice,” he continues, “but it's actually a plan to end Medicare as we know it. Not only do studies show that it would cost more than $32 trillion over ten years, but taxes on families would have to be doubled or tripled to pay for it. Everyone who gets health insurance through their job would be kicked off their plan. And Medicare — a critically important program seniors rely on that is already projected to run out of money in just eight years — would in a few short years have to cover everyone in the country. The reality is that ‘Medicare for all’ is Medicare for none.”