The Affordable Care Act prohibited those practices, forcing insurers to sell policies with comprehensive benefits and at uniform prices to everybody, no matter their medical status. This made coverage available to people who couldn’t get it before, but it also forced insurers to raise underlying insurance premiums, because it meant they had to cover medical bills they had previously been able to dodge.
The legislation ensures that every American with preexisting conditions has access to the coverage and care they need ― no exceptions.
The Affordable Care Act also has tax credits that offset these higher premiums, but they are based on income, and not everybody qualifies ― leaving many people, particularly in the middle- and upper-middle-class, paying a lot more for coverage.
Republicans have seized on these high premiums as one of the big flaws in Obamacare, promising that, if given the chance to repeal the law, they would eliminate the costly “mandates” driving them.
But, tellingly, Republicans almost never speak explicitly about getting rid of pre-existing condition protections. Over the years, even as they were coming up with plans to weaken or eliminate the new insurance rules, they would promise publicly to keep those protections for pre-existing conditions in place.
As recently as Friday, during an address to the nation’s governors, Vice President Mike Pence said the “legislation ensures that every American with preexisting conditions has access to the coverage and care they need ― no exceptions.”
Cruz has attempted to maintain the same illusion, describing his amendment as the best of both worlds because it would still require insurers to offer some policies that conform to the existing rules ― that is, with all of the Affordable Care Act’s essential benefits and available to all people at uniform prices.
On Friday, the insurer groups explained why that couldn’t work: “As healthy people move to the less-regulated plans, those with significant medical needs will have no choice but to stay in the comprehensive plans, and premiums will skyrocket for people with preexisting conditions.”