House Committees Focus Attention on ACA and Pre-existing Conditions

Amy’s Advocacy Corner

Over the last few weeks, different House committees have held hearings about the Affordable Care Act and provisions that protect people with pre-existing conditions. These include the Ways and Means Committee, the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, and the Appropriations Health and Human Services Subcommittee.

The hearing in the Ways and Means Committee featured a heart disease patient who testified about his experience with an infectious fungal disease affecting his heart while covered by a short-term limited duration health plan. Because the plan didn’t cover care for pre-existing conditions, he had to spend countless hours going to nearly every doctor he had ever seen to prove that the condition was new in order to have his medical care covered. He has since switched to a plan that is ACA-compliant and provides protections for pre-existing conditions. Committee members and other witnesses in the hearing spoke about the inadequacies of health insurance plans that do not comply with the ACA but have recently been allowed to permeate the market.

The other hearings followed a similar pattern, with patients, health policy experts, and others speaking about recent threats to the ACA, including litigation moving through the courts that threatens the ACA and funding cuts to Navigator programs that help people research and select appropriate plans. Many of these committees will now explore legislation to secure existing protections.

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