Health Reform WK-EDGE most Americans want to keep ACA’s pre-existing condition protections
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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

most Americans want to keep ACA’s pre-existing condition protections

By Sheila Lynch-Afryl, J.D., M.A.

The majority of Americans report that it is "very important" that protections for those with pre-existing conditions, as created by Sec. 1201 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148), remain law, according to a poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. These majorities crossed party lines and health status. Majorities also report being worried about paying more or losing coverage if the ACA’s pre-existing condition protections are overturned.

Respondents thought it was "very important" to retain ACA provisions prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage based on a person’s medical history (75 percent) and from charging sick people more (72 percent). Three-quarters of Independents, 86 percent of Democrats, and 58 percent of Republicans responded that it was "very important" that insurance companies not deny coverage because of a person’s medical history, and 88 percent of Democrats, 71 percent of Independents, and 56 percent of Republicans thought it was "very important" that insurance companies not charge sick people more.

In addition, a recent Kaiser analysis estimated that 27 percent of adults aged 18 to 64 have a preexisting condition that would have led to a denial of insurance pre-ACA; 41 percent were "very worried" that they or a family member will lose coverage if the Supreme Court overturns the ACA’s pre-existing condition protections, while 52 percent were very worried that they or a family member will pay more for health insurance.

In February, 20 state attorneys general (AGs) filed suit against the federal government, claiming that the elimination of the individual mandate’s tax penalty made the entire ACA unconstitutional (see 20 states seek repeal of the entire ‘unconstitutional and irrational’ ACA, February 28, 2018). In June Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice will not defend the constitutionality of the individual mandate (see Sessions announces DOJ will not defend the constitutionality of the individual mandate, June 8, 2018). While Democratic state AGs successfully intervened in the suit and are defending the constitutionality of the ACA, some have posited that if the judge sides with the Trump Administration, 52 million people with preexisting conditions could face higher premiums or denial of coverage.

Companies: Kaiser Family Foundation

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