Obamacare repeal update — all about pre-existing conditions and more

As you know, the Republicans may be within one vote of repealing the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. And while Donald Trump claims that the GOP bill protects people with pre-existing conditions, the consensus among health care experts is that Trump is lying. The bill guts protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

It’s all rather complicated, of course, but in a nutshell the GOP bill would preserve Obamacare’s requirements that insurance companies not turn you away for having a pre-existing condition. But, the bill would let insurance companies charge you anything they want for a plan that would cover your condition.

So, for example, if you had cancer, Blue Cross would be required to let you buy a policy. But, they could charge you 5x more than they charge everybody else who doesn’t have cancer. Now, they would do this in a tricky way. They might, for example, have two policies available in your state. One policy doesn’t cover chemo, the other does. The policy that does cover chemo costs 10x more per month. So, what happens? People without cancer buy the cheap policy, while people with cancer have no choice but to buy the more expensive policy they can’t afford, so they go without.

And that’s only one way. Another way the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill will target people with pre-existing conditions is via annual and lifetime caps. Before Obamacare, insurance companies capped how much you could benefit from a policy over one year or over your entire life. For example, my old policy would only provide me $1,200 per year in prescription drug benefits — after that point, for the rest of the year, I was on my own. And many policies, mine included, had a lifetime maximum payment of $2 million. After which point, you lose your insurance and can’t ever buy insurance again. And while $2 million may sound like a lot, over a 65 year lifetime (until you get on Medicare), any serious condition could reach that limit. And for people with cancer, it often did.

But it’s not just people with cancer. Before Obamacare, the following were pre-existing conditions that could get your denied for insurance: allergies, asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, having gone for therapy. You don’t need to have cancer to be harmed by the Republican bill.

Cliff and I discussed the Obamacare repeal bill at length in our new podcast, below. And I tweeted several two-minute snippets of the podcast on very particular topics related to this issue. They include:

Why it matters that Republicans aren’t getting a “CBO score” before trying to pass this monstrosity.

What’s motivating Republican Senators to support the Graham-Cassidy bill when they know it will hurt their constituents? Corruption.

The states hurt the most by GOP Obamacare repeal include a number of states represented by GOP members of Congress: FL, PA, OH, KY, NC, AZ, ME, AK, NV, AR, LA, CO. Here’s the Senate switchboard number, to call your Senator: 202-224-3121.

6 key Senators to call on Obamacare repeal: AZ, AK, ME, OH, WV, TN.

How to call your US Senator about Obamacare repeal. I worked in the Senate — be angry, it works.

And here’s the entire podcast, below. Please subscribe to the UnPresidented Podcast on iTunes (then rate and reviews us, it helps a LOT to grow our community), then go to Patreon and for just $5 per month you can also subscribe to our premium podcasts that are behind a paywall (half our podcast are free, half are premium). If you like my work, please support me by subscribing to the podcast, and/or a straight donation works too. Thanks so much, JOHN.

Here as promised is the podcast:

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CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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