Republicans Introduce Pre-Existing Plan Bill

House Republicans introduced a bill to shift additional funds into the Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan to open it to new enrollees and extend funding through the end of the year. The Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan was supposed to cover 375,000 enrollees. However, with only 110,000 enrolled, the administration was forced to close the program because of a lack of funds. The Helping Sick Americans Now Act would move funds from the Public Health and Prevention Fund into PCIP to keep the program open through the end of the calendar year.

H.R. 1549, The Helping Sick Americans Now Act, was introduced by Representatives Joe Pitts (PA) chairman of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, Michael Burgess, M.D. (TX), vice chair of the Health Subcommittee, and Ann Wagner (MO). Rep. Joe Pitts said, “Five weeks ago, House Republicans asked the President to move additional funds into the Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan…Since the White House hasn’t answered our appeal, we’ve introduced legislation that would ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions can once again have access to this program. “The Administration’s lack of a willingness to set sensible priorities has required us to introduce this legislation to provide immediate coverage for these individuals and ensure no American with a difficult medical diagnosis is told “tough luck” because the President failed to act,” said Rep. Burgess. “The legislation that will help dismantle the Public Health Slush Fund and help those with preexisting conditions get access to care through the high risk pools,” said Rep. Ann Wagner.

On April 3, the Health Subcommittee held a hearing to investigate the suspension of enrollment in PCIP. Susan Zurface, a 42-year old mother of two, testified about her struggle with leukemia and how being barred from the program has made it virtually impossible to get affordable health coverage. Testimony and video of this hearing is available here: http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearing/protecting-america%E2%80%99s-sick-and-chronically-ill

Last Updated 09/23/2020

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