HHS: Repeal of Reform Threatens Those with Pre-Existing Conditions

John Commins, January 19, 2011

Half of "non-elderly" Americans under the age of 65 — 129 million people—might have a pre-existing medical condition such as high blood pressure or arthritis that could deny them healthcare coverage if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, according to a Health and Human Services report issued Tuesday.

"The Affordable Care Act is stopping insurance companies from discriminating against Americans with pre-existing conditions and is giving us all more freedom and control over our healthcare decisions," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement accompanying the report.

"The new law is already helping to free Americans from the fear that an insurer will drop, limit, or cap their coverage when they need it most. And Americans living with pre-existing conditions are being freed from discrimination in order to get the health coverage they need," Sebelius said.

The HHS report comes as majority House Republicans in the newly convened 112th Congress launch their attempt to repeal the healthcare reforms enacted last year by Democrats. By midday Tuesday, House GOP leaders had not responded to the report.

The health insurance lobby, however, disputed the findings.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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