Alexah Rogge 

WASHINGTON—Today, the House voted on the democrats’ top legislative priority for this week: the misleadingly-named, “Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act.” The bill’s title implies that it is addressing coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, but instead, it will undo a waiver program implemented by President Trump in 2018 that has no effect on pre-existing conditions.

This waiver renders section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act ineffective, allowing states the freedom to pursue innovative strategies to lower costs and enhance care. This waiver program has been extremely successful, with premiums in participating states lowering by 19.9% in the first year of enactment.

To ensure that President Trump’s waiver program continues to protect those with pre-existing conditions, Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Rep. Walden sought out counsel from the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma, who confirmed this by stating, “To be very clear, the 2018 guidance [from President Trump] does nothing to erode the PPACA’s pre-existing condition provisions, which cannot be waived under Section 1332.”

“I strongly believe that states should have the freedom to decide which policies fit their own residents best. Idaho is one of the states where President Trump’s waiver program has been a success and I am proud to vote NO on the democrats’ efforts to eliminate it,” commented Representative Fulcher. “This democrat-sponsored bill is a complete misnomer and this type of deception is insulting to those navigating the complexities of our healthcare system.”

“Today’s vote was not about pre-existing conditions,” said Simpson. “In fact, the only line in this bill that deals with the pre-existing conditions is the title. I am a cosponsor H.R. 692 - which democrats denied a vote on - that would specifically provide protections for pre-existing conditions. Furthermore, the bill we voted on today restricts the ability of states like Idaho, that are trying to innovate to provide more access and affordable coverage.”

The State of Idaho, led by Governor Brad Little and Director of Insurance Dean Cameron, have worked for years to provide more choices for coverage and cheaper costs to Idahoans. Much of this effort hinges on waivers for states to tailor health care plans to what fits the individual needs of local communities. This legislation would likely have resulted in upending those efforts, leaving Idahoans with less choice and more expensive plans.