Should health insurers be forced to cover pre-existing conditions? | The Tylt
Should health insurers be forced to cover pre-existing conditions?
According to the CDC, about 133 million Americans—nearly 1 in 2 adults—live with at least one chronic illness. Before Obamacare, people could be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Anything that included cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease and pregnancy (even domestic abuse) could lead to automatic denial. US News & World Report notes reinstating a ban on pre-existing conditions could literally be a death sentence for tens of thousands of people:
If the pre-existing protections were to be repealed, then 52 million people under the age of 65 would have difficulty getting private coverage, the analysis concluded....Others may have had particular medications denied, such as those used to treat HIV, arthritis or diabetes.
But is requiring insurance companies to cover gravely ill people economically sustainable? The libertarian Cato Institute argues no, and says the requirement is actually the worst part of the Affordable Care Act:
[ Pre-existing conditions protections] are driving premiums higher. It is those provisions, and not the mandate, that are destabilizing health-insurance markets, reducing choice, and causing insurers to flee. Most important, it is those provisions, not the mandate, that are causing a race to the bottom where sick patients are seeing the coverage they value disappear from their Obamacare plans. If you want the sick to have more secure access to care, if you want to repeal Obamacare, the pre-existing-conditions provisions must go.
Critics argue pre-existing conditions are inhumane and immoral. Allowing health insurers to cover the healthy and deny or rescind the coverage for people who get sick will result in widespread death and suffering.
Make no mistake. When Senators vote to strip pre-existing conditions from the ACA, they are voting to kill the chronically ill.
But the Christian Science Monitor argues insurance companies have to make a profit.
[Don't] blame insurance companies for being unwilling to write policies for existing illnesses. Forcing the companies to cover already sick people would be wrong because it would not be true insurance. Insurance is about future risk and uncertainty, not about past or present actualities. Insuring against an existing illness would be like insuring against a house fire when the house is already aflame. That makes no sense.