Mittens Doesn't Seem To Understand Why We Have A Problem With Pre-Existing Conditions

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This is where having a one-percenter running for president really begins to show the differences. Willard is saying he would replace Obamacare with a law that would make sure those with preexisting conditions can still get coverage. He's apparently unaware we already have such a law (HIPAA), which permits you to lose or change jobs without jeopardizing your ability to maintain coverage, because he's never lived in that world and seems to have paid little or no attention to how the rest of us live.

So he's offering to fix something that doesn't need fixing. The problem is not keeping the coverage: The problem is the cost of the coverage, which insurers are free to jack into the stratosphere on the basis of your preexisting condition. "What's the big deal, can't you just write a check?" Just another example of what it's like to live on Mt. Olympus:

While the Affordable Care Act would prevent insurers from denying coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition beginning in 2014, Romney’s provision is far more limited — and would only protect Americans who already have coverage.

As The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn has pointed out, the federal government already forbids insurers from denying coverage to the continuously covered through the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). But the measure has been seen as a failure because “there is no limit on what insurers can charge under HIPAA” and the law does “little to regulate the content of coverage, leaving the door open to insurers to offer bare-bones policies. In addition, HIPAA notice requirements are weak, making it hard for people to know about this protection.”

Romney could offer to bolster the existing law, but given his general laissez-faire approach to health care and opposition to “government interference” in the private sector, it’s unlikely that he would want to impose new regulations on insurers. Without a mandate for everyone to purchase coverage, the protection would also attract sicker people who need care and increase premiums for all enrollees. In other words, it’s a poor solution that will leave millions still searching for coverage.


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