Sep 7 2018

S. 3388 –The Ensuring Coverage for Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions Act

Claim: This bill would take away protections for patients with pre-existing conditions.
The Facts: This bill does not take away patient protections. It ensures that patients have access to health care coverage regardless of their health status or preexisting conditions. This bill simply takes the Affordable Care Act language on protections for patients with preexisting conditions and inserts it into a different area of federal law; it does not strike down, weaken, or change a single provision from the Affordable Care Act.
Claim: While this bill does prohibit insurers from denying coverage or charging patients with preexisting conditions a higher premium, it would still allow insurers to exclude pre-existing conditions from coverage.
The Facts: This bill is an important starting point to make clear where Congress stands on protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions, and makes no changes to provisions in the Affordable Care Act. While there is no way to predict how the courts will rule on specific provisions of the ACA, the bill’s authors have stressed they are willing to modify their bill and reach across the aisle depending on the scope of the court’s ruling.
Claim: This bill does not include (fill in the blank).
The Facts: There are many Title I protections that were included in the Affordable Care Act that are not included in the Ensuring Coverage for Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions Act. The intent of this bill is not to recreate the Affordable Care Act elsewhere in the U.S. Code or serve as an alternative. The goal is to signal Congress’ commitment to protecting adequate and affordable coverage for Americans with preexisting conditions, and to serve as a framework for Congress to build upon should certain provisions of the ACA fall in Texas v US. It is impossible to predict what the outcome will be, and the bill’s sponsors remain committed to tweaking and/or expanding the bill text if the court’s ruling goes beyond the scope of the bill as introduced.
Claim: This bill props up Obamacare
The Facts: This bill does not prop up or protect the Affordable Care Act, nor does it represent a comprehensive replacement for the ACA, should a court find the ACA to be unconstitutional. This bill does not add to, remove, or amend a single provision of the ACA. This bill does highlight an area of agreement among many Senators, demonstrating a commitment to preserving protections for patients with preexisting conditions, in a way that could stand on its own regardless of the standing of the Affordable Care Act more broadly.