House Republicans may claim on their own website that no ObamaCare replacement should sacrifice the current protections for those with pre-existing conditions, but—guess what?—it seems like they didn’t mean it. Via The Hill:
An amendment from Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) would allow states to apply for waivers to what is known as community rating, which prevents insurers from charging higher premiums to different people within a certain territory, regardless of their health status. Without that protection, insurers could go back to charging people with pre-existing conditions exorbitantly high premiums, which could put coverage out of reach for many.
MacArthur reached a deal with Mark Meadows, head of the Freedom Caucus, a group which has been clamoring to eliminate pre-existing conditions rules for some time—in fact, it was a major sticking point in the AHCA’s original failure.
Technically, even in states who applied for a waiver, those with pre-existing conditions would still be protected if they had maintained continuous coverage. In practice, as outlined in an excellent post by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, loopholes would send premiums skyrocketing for this “protected” group, while the roughly one-third of those who have had coverages lapses could face a total lack of coverage. It comes down to this—in order to qualify for admission into a “community rated” pool, users would have to submit proof of continuous coverage, or be judged on their health status (ie, pre-existing conditions). However, there would be incentive for healthy individuals not to submit that proof, since their premiums would be lower if they were judged on their own. That means the pools would be populated to a larger degree by high-risk applicants, which would raise the premiums anyway.
Essentially, despite any promises the GOP has made, they are out to gut health care protections, and with this new amendment, Americans with pre-existing conditions will be left out in the cold.