Pre-existing condition bill to be introduced in House

A House subcommittee will take up a Republican bill Feb. 2 that would protect people with pre-existing conditions from losing coverage or facing higher premiums if the ACA is repealed.

"We want to make sure people with pre-existing conditions continue to get covered," Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee told CNN. To reaffirm that commitment, Rep. Walden said he plans to introduce the bill at the hearing in the Subcommittee on Health.

Entitled the "Preexisting Conditions Protection and Continuous Coverage Incentive Act of 2017," the discussion draft of the bill lays out provisions to continue to prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions and guarantee coverage in individual and group markets if the ACA is repealed. The draft is currently unfinished — the portion regarding continuous coverage remains unwritten. However, previous plans put forth by Republicans include continuous coverage limitations and could offer a blueprint for what it will involve in Rep. Walden's bill. For example, the plan put forth by Rep. Tom Price, MD, R-Ga., the nominee for secretary of HHS, upholds the prohibition against pre-existing condition exclusions so long as enrollees maintain continuous coverage for at least 18 months prior to enrolling in a plan. This would offer less protection for individuals with pre-existing conditions compared to what is offered by the ACA.

The bill will be introduced at the "Patient Relief from Collapsing Health Markets" hearing, which will cover a number of other bills in addition to Rep. Walden's, including proposals to protect coverage for young adults under age 26, loosen age rating bands and more.

 

Editor's Note: This article was updated at 2:45 p.m. CT on Jan. 30 to include additional information about the Preexisting Conditions Protection and Continuous Coverage Incentive Act of 2017.

 

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