New Hawley op-ed in Springfield News Leader: Obamacare isn’t needed to protect preexisting conditions

Obamacare isn’t needed to protect preexisting conditions

By Josh Hawley | Springfield News Leader | Oct. 03, 2018

Healthcare is always personal, and my family is no exception. Erin and I have two little boys at home, and earlier this year, we learned that our older boy has a rare chronic disease—a preexisting condition. We know what it’s like to wonder what comes next, to battle with the insurance company, to wait for the doctor you need.

That’s why I’m committed to protecting people with preexisting conditions. And I’m committed to getting healthcare costs down for all Missourians.

You wouldn’t know that from the smear campaign Claire McCaskill and Chuck Schumer have been running. They’ve used the stories of people with pre-existing conditions, like my son, as pawns in their effort to protect President Obama’s legacy, Obamacare. And that’s the problem. Claire McCaskill cares more about her liberal political agenda than about getting better care for Missourians.

Her liberal partisanship has forced Missouri families to pay 145% price increases in healthcare, to live with narrower doctor networks and fewer choices for care. That’s wrong.

About 1 in 4 Americans have a pre-existing condition, like my son. It affects every neighborhood and every family in our state. And every one of us deserves access to health care coverage we can afford for the medical treatments we need. But the truth is, we don’t need Obamacare to protect families, like mine, with preexisting conditions. There are multiple ways to cover folks with chronic illnesses apart from Obamacare. Here’s one: a Federal Insurance Guarantee.

With this approach, insurers on the individual market would be required to offer plans to people with preexisting conditions at the same price they do to other individuals. These patients would pay the same deductibles as everyone else, on the same terms. The federal government would then pay for insurance costs that exceed, say, $10,000. And the insurers, in turn, would be required to give most of the premiums they collect from these patients to the government, in order to prevent insurance companies from gaming the system.

This approach would fully protect patients with preexisting conditions while bringing down the costs of insurance for everybody. And it would cost far less than the failed Obamacare.