We have all seen the dueling TV political ads. One ad claims that Rep. George Holding voted to discriminate against older people and those with pre-existing health conditions when they purchase health insurance. These ads refer to HB 1628, titled American Health Care Act. Holding’s spokeswoman in his ad claims that the opposition ad is false. Perhaps she did not read the entire bill.
As usual in legislation, the devil is in the details and AHCA is full of details including various waivers, which allow insurers to disregard certain requirements previously stated. Several examples are the following:
Section 133: Health insurers must increase premiums by 30 percent for one year for individuals who had a break in coverage of more than 62 days. However, states may apply for a waiver to allow insurers to base premiums on an individual’s health status instead.
Section 135: Increase the ratio by which health insurance premiums may vary by age from 3-to1 to a 5-to1 ratio.
Section 136: States may apply to DHHS for a waiver to increase the ratio by which premiums may vary by age.
However, the most telling detail of all we find in Section 136; the statement that the previous waivers to allow premiums to vary by health status do not apply to health plans the federal government makes available to members of Congress and their staff.
Rep. Holding voted for this bill, including all the details above. The bill does discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions and George Holding obviously knows it.