A study released by the Department of Health and Human Services, released today, declares that some 129 million Americans under the age of 65 suffer from preexisting medical conditions that could hinder their ability to obtain coverage or send their premiums skyrocketing. The study comes as the House of Representatives begins hearing a proposed bill to repeal the health-care overhaul of 2010.
According to the old rules, insurers could deny applicants based on whether they had a preexisting condition, whether that is a birth defect or cancer, and if not denied, applicants would be liable for much higher premiums. The study finds that one-fifth to one-half of non-elderly people in the U.S. suffer from ailments that would trigger such rejection.
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Opponents of the health care reform are convinced that the study is nothing more than public relations – a political gambit to garner sympathy for the bill. Though the release of new analysis’ on the eve of Congressional votes is nothing new, the majority of the study is comprised with people that actually have insurance coverage despite their preexisting conditions. However, it also dictates that had these people tried to change their policies they may have been dropped by their company or suffered much higher premiums.
Many provisions of the reform law have already taken effect, the most controversial of which, the mandate that individuals purchase health coverage, will not be enacted until 2014. With the law under such heated contention, there is still significant time to make changes to the provision or, somehow, find a compromise.