According to Betsy McCaughey, a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and a former lieutenant governor of New York, President Obama’s warning to Congress that junking the Affordable Care Act will put “133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions” in jeopardy is phony. According to Ms. McCaughey in the WSJ, “The actual number is roughly 500,000.”
For starters, half of Americans get their insurance through an employer, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Another 34% are on Medicaid or Medicare. For all these people, pre-existing conditions are no barrier to coverage.
Pre-existing conditions mattered before ObamaCare only in the individual market, but even there few were affected. In 2010 Rep. Henry Waxman, then the Democratic chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued a report on the individual market. It stated that the four largest insurers— Aetna , Humana , UnitedHealth and WellPoint—declined to issue policies to about 250,000 people a year because of their medical histories. A 2011 report from the Government Accountability Office found a similar number.
About 500,000 people with preexisting conditions would not be protected if ObamaCare is repealed, Ms. McCaughey explains.
That’s a minuscule fraction of Mr. Obama’s 133 million. The president’s number is from a misleading report produced by his own Department of Health and Human Services, which vastly exaggerates the health problems serious enough to result in a coverage denial.
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