A new report out from Avalere found that 102 million Americans could face rising premium and out of pocket costs if efforts to eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions were successful. For many, this would make health coverage too expensive to afford. The study found that 49.7% of the non-Medicaid, non-Medicare population had a diagnosis that could subject them to “medical underwriting,” where an insurance company increases costs for sicker patients.
A previous analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that in Louisiana, 849,000 individuals could be denied health coverage due to a lawsuit being pursued by Attorney General Jeff Landry. Prior to joining the lawsuit, the attorney general did not consult with state or health officials on the possible consequences of the lawsuit.
"Individuals with a pre-existing condition shouldn't be denied health coverage," said Gov. Edwards. "In joining a lawsuit without consulting anyone in the state of Louisiana, Jeff Landry is putting people's lives at risk. In typical fashion, the attorney general is trying to score political points without any consideration of the repercussions. For most people with a pre-existing condition, this could mean life or death.
Both parties agree that this one provision is important to preserve, and it's time for Jeff Landry to pull Louisiana from the lawsuit and work collaboratively on a plan that preserves the pre-existing protections for the 849,000 Louisianans who need it."
In September, the attorney general appeared on CNN to discuss his lawsuit. In the appearance, it was uncovered that he had not consulted with state officials before joining the lawsuit and did not have a plan in place to continue the pre-existing condition protection should he be successful. More information is available here.
Following comments to the media where he indicated support for the pre-existing condition protection, Gov. Edwards asked House Speaker Taylor Barras to commit to authoring legislation in the 2019 Regular Legislative Session to protect health care for people with pre-existing conditions. In a fiscal session, such as the one in 2019, legislators are only allowed five non-fiscal related bills, and Gov. Edwards asked the speaker to reserve one of his five for this issue. More information is available here.
The new Avalere report is available here.