One piece of the Obamacare replacement reportedly is coming to the House of Representatives next week. Oregon Rep. Greg Walden told reporters at a Philadelphia GOP congressional retreat on Thursday that he plans to introduce a bill to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions during the transition between Obamacare and the rest of the replacement.
Walden is the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which, according to The Hill, is one of the first this year to consider concrete legislation with Walden’s health care-related bill. It affirms the commitment of congressional Republicans not simply to replace the so-called Affordable Care Act, but to do so with a workable alternative in mind, Democrat objections to the contrary notwithstanding.
The pre-existing conditions protection in Obamacare is perhaps the legislation’s most popular provision and most Republican and conservative alternatives to Obamacare have insisted on maintaining such a requirement in some form.
Indeed, Talking Points Memo quotes Walden on that very point:
“We believe that people with pre-existing conditions should not be denied access to health insurance…We’ve believed that from day one. There’s been a lot of speculation that those folks would be left behind, I want to be clear that that’s not going to happen and we want to reaffirm that through legislation.”
One question regarding any requirement not to refuse health care insurance coverage to those with pre-existing conditions is whether it will include a requirement of continuous coverage. As Time details, Obamacare currently prevents insurance providers from requiring continuous coverage for a set amount of time for those with pre-existing conditions before guaranteeing them coverage, unless such a requirement was grandfathered in from a previous plan.
Walden was asked about whether his bill would include or allow for a requirement of continuous coverage before guaranteeing pre-existing conditions would be covered, but according to Talking Points Memo, he did not directly answer. However, when interviewed later by CNN’s Jake Tapper, he said the following:
“We want to see continuous coverage. We want to make sure people with pre-existing conditions continue to get covered. In fact, I’ll introduce a bill next week that will provide and reaffirm that commitment from Republicans… We’ve always believed that those up to 26 years old should be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance. In fact, it was a Republican idea before the Democrats put it into ACA. We’re going to reaffirm that as well.”
According to Walden, governors from across the country have told him they would like increased flexibility, as well. National health care legislation that is more flexible presumably would allow for a more federalist solution to health care in America, something no conservative will complain about.
Look for Walden’s bill on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, when, according to the Washington Examiner, the subcommittees on oversight and health will hold hearings to discuss potential reforms.