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Wittman Dedicated to Protecting Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions

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Washington, May 10, 2019 | comments

WASHINGTON – Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) released this statement after voting against House Democrat’s latest partisan messaging ploy, H.R. 986 – the Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2019:

“Despite the name, H.R. 986 has nothing to do with protecting people with preexisting conditions. Instead, what the bill does, is repeal the administration’s expansion of a successful provision - Section 1332 - that allows states to waive certain Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements in an effort to lower premiums. Section 1332 does not allow the Administration to wave pre-existing conditions requirements, as the law does not allow for this. Meaning contrary to what House Democrats are saying, Section 1332 empowers states to take steps to stabilize their markets and allow more affordable coverage options to individuals and families priced out of the current market, including people with preexisting conditions.

“I have voted repeatedly to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions – and it would be a disingenuous to suggest otherwise. In fact, one of the very first votes I took this Congress was on a Republican measure to force Congress to legislate on locking in protections for patients with pre-existing conditions. I am focused on providing real healthcare solutions that favor quality, choice, and empowers individuals and families to make decisions for themselves based on what best fits their needs, wants, and budget.

“House Democrats chose to put politics before the American people, refusing to work with Republicans to find legislative solutions to the problems our constituents face every day. However, I’m confident the American people will not fall for the House Democrat’s latest partisan ploy.  I want to be abundantly clear, I believe in a better health care future for Virginians. I will continue fighting for patient-provider centered reforms that expand choices for consumers, increase access to care, reduce health care costs, and enhance transparency in our health care system.”

Congressman Wittman is a cosponsor of H.R. 692, the Pre-existing Conditions Protection Act of 2019, introduced by Rep. Greg Walden. This bill will ensure that individuals with pre-existing conditions have access to healthcare in the event changes are made to the Affordable Care Act.  It requires health insurers to cover preexisting conditions and to accept every employer and every individual applying for coverage, while prohibiting them from discriminating against individuals based on health status factors or collecting genetic information in connection with issuing health insurance.

In response to the Democrat’s bill, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma stated, "To be very clear, the 2018 guidance does nothing to erode the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s pre-existing condition provisions, which cannot be waived under section 1332. Section 1332 does not permit states to waive Public Health Service Act requirements such as guaranteed availability and renewability of health insurance, the prohibition on using health status to vary premiums, and the prohibition on pre-existing conditions exclusions. Furthermore, a section 1332 waiver cannot be approved that might otherwise undermine these requirements. This Administration stands committed to protecting people with pre-existing conditions.”

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