- About 102 million Americans have a pre-existing condition, potentially putting them at risk of steep premiums or exclusion from coverage if protections are repealed, according to a new report from Avalere. The analysis examines those with commercial coverage outside of public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
- About 200 million people are covered commercially and slightly more than half of those have a of pre-existing condition, according to Avalere.
- The risk of returning to medical underwriting could result in using existing health data to price plans, which for some could mean a rise in premiums or an exclusion of coverage.
The Trump administration has undermined multiple aspects of the Affordable Care Act, stoking fears about repealing other protections. HHS has made it easier to enroll in short-term and association health plans, which do not have to cover pre-existing conditions.
Also, Congress terminated the individual mandate penalty beginning next year and the administration is refusing to defend the ACA in a Texas lawsuit seeking to repeal the law.
And as the midterms are quickly approaching, healthcare is a very important issue for many voters as they consider whom to send to Washington D.C.
"It's becoming increasingly clear that pre-existing conditions are taking a bit of a center stage in the midterm elections," Chris Sloan, director at Avalere, told Healthcare Dive.
In key battleground states, GOP candidate and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has promised to preserve pre-existing protections, while at the same time suing to overturn the ACA and its protections as part of the lawsuit in Texas.
The state of Florida is also part of the suit to overturn the law. But Gov. Rick Scott, former CEO of HCA and Republican candidate for Senate, has said he supports protections for those with existing medical conditions, according to the Associated Press.
Democrats have since gone on the offensive, criticizing their opponents for seeking to undo parts of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.
The ACA has helped the U.S. reach historical lows when it comes to the rate of the uninsured. In the past, those without insurance lacked adequate access to care. Without the ability to pay, hospitals incur bad debt or charity care. Hospitals in states that have chosen to expand Medicaid have seen reductions in uncompensated care.