GOP House members seek ongoing protections for people with pre-existing health conditions

By Ripon Advance News Service:

More than two dozen Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed on as original cosponsors to a new federal resolution that restates their support for retaining protections for Americans with pre-existing health conditions regardless of what happens legislatively to Obamacare.

Numerous Republicans seek to fix the nation’s broken health care system via amendments or repeal of Obamacare, the nickname for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law in March 2010.

But regardless of future actions that might be taken to change the law, Republican lawmakers want to ensure that protections for pre-existing conditions remain intact, according to the congressional record summary of House Resolution (H. Res.) 1066, introduced on Sept. 13 by U.S. Rep. David Young (R-IA).

“I have always supported protecting those with pre-existing conditions and have ensured they can’t be denied coverage or charged more,” said Rep. Young, the main sponsor of the resolution. “This is the latest of many steps I have taken to make sure Iowans with pre-existing conditions continue to have the protections they deserve and get the care they need.”

Among the 27 original cosponsors of H. Res. 1066 are U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Kevin Yoder (R-KS), Dave Joyce (R-OH), Mimi Walters (R-CA), Don Bacon (R-NE), David Valadao (R-CA), Susan Brooks (R-IN), Jim Renacci (R-OH), Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Fred Upton (R-MI), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), John Katko (R-NY), Dan Donovan (R-NY), and Martha McSally (R-AZ).

Rep. Yoder said that during his tenure in Congress, he’s met and heard the stories of many people who have pre-existing conditions. “I carry those stories with me when I go to work in Washington and always look for ways to help fulfill that promise to make sure they have access to care,” he said on Sept. 14.

For example, in addition to ensuring that federal consumer protections for pre-existing conditions remain covered by federal law, Rep. Yoder suggested investments be made in medical research. “Funding for research saves lives, but it’s also a smart investment and the absolute best way to lower the cost of care for everyone,” said the congressman.

“My focus remains on working together with Republicans and Democrats to protect and improve our American health care system,” Yoder added.

Reps. Yoder and Walters also are among the 78 cosponsors of the Pre-existing Conditions Protection Act of 2017, H.R. 1121, introduced last February by U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR). H.R. 1121 also would preserve current pre-existing condition protections for consumers if Obamacare was repealed, among other provisions, according to the congressional record summary.

Rep. Walters said her original cosponsorship of H. Res. 1066 reaffirms her backing of H.R. 1121, as well as her “strong support for protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions.”

“All Americans must have access to quality, affordable health care coverage, especially individuals with pre-existing conditions,” said the congresswoman.

H.R. 1121 remains under consideration by the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Rep. Renacci pointed out that the new H. Res. 1066 also would ensure that the estimated 28 percent of his home-state Ohioans having pre-existing conditions aren’t denied access to health insurance.

“I was glad to join a number of my House colleagues in sponsoring this resolution and making clear that we must maintain such protections while working to reform and fix our broken health care system, which Obamacare has failed to do,” said Rep. Renacci.

Rep. Davis also offered his support of the resolution.

“As the husband of a cancer survivor, I understand just how important it is that individuals with pre-existing conditions are protected from being discriminated against,” Rep. Davis said in a Sept. 14 statement. “I thank Rep. Young for leading this resolution that reaffirms our support of maintaining those protections regardless of any future changes to Obamacare or a court ruling.”

In fact, “in the case of a court ruling that would hinder such protections,” according to the text of the resolution, then H. Res. 1066 says Congress should “act swiftly to reinstate such protections for such individuals.”

H. Res. 1066 has been referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee.

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