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July 16, 2018

Patient Advocates Call on Trump Administration to Defend Patients with Preexisting Conditions in Court

Washington, DC – National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) called on the Trump Administration to reverse its decision to argue in court that the preexisting conditions protections enshrined in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be overturned.

“The Administration’s decision to oppose existing federal law imperils millions of patients nationwide,” said CEO Alan Balch, PhD. “Not only does it bring back uncertainty to individuals’ lives, it also destabilizes the entire marketplace, driving up costs for everyone.”

Texas and 19 other states sued the federal government in February, claiming that the ACA is unconstitutional because the recent tax law eliminated the penalty for not having health insurance. If the argument prevails in court, it would eliminate the ACA provisions that ban insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions or from charging higher rates based on their health status.

‘We have long worked with patients for whom meaningful health coverage was not possible. They were low-income, sick or had multiple conditions. Each day they lived with the constant worry of a health crisis leading to financial ruin,” said Balch. “By allowing insurers to discriminate against people with preexisting conditions, the Administration will thrust millions of Americans back into that life.”

In an internal survey of Patient Advocate Foundation case managers, eliminating preexisting conditions protections was seen as the largest threat to the patients served by the organization. Case managers worked with hundreds of patients who were either denied coverage because of preexisting conditions, or were offered coverage with prohibitively high premiums.

NPAF represents patients nationwide in support of access to affordable, quality health care. As the advocacy affiliate of the Patient Advocate Foundation, NPAF uses real patient data and lived experiences to advocate for patient-centric policies.