Are you SOL?

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What do you expect from healthcare coverage? Between what the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) and the AHCA (American Health Care Act) affords people, there are significant differences.

Most notably, as we have seen in recent reports, a significant difference between the ACA and AHCA is the stance on pre-existing conditions.

In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said, “no matter what, you cannot be denied coverage if you have a pre-existing condition.”

While Ryan is correct the MacArthur amendment prohibits denying coverage to people with a pre-existing condition, he conveniently omitted the fact it does not shield against potentially higher costs. Under the PPACA, insurers are required to charge the same price for coverage regardless of health status.

When the PPACA was implemented in 2014, one of the previsions of the act stipulated insurers were prohibited from denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition. The same cannot be said for what Republicans are endorsing in the AHCA. If you have one or more of the following medical conditions, your medical treatment might come with a seriously high price tag.

  • Acne
  • Acromegaly
  • AIDS or ARC
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Anemia (Aplastic, Cooley’s, Hemolytic, Mediterranean or Sickle Cell)
  • Anxiety
  • Aortic or Mitral Valve Stenosis
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Arteritis
  • Asbestosis
  • Asthma
  • Bipolar disease
  • Cancer
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Cerebral Palsy (infantile)
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Cirrhosis of the Liver
  • Coagulation Defects
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Demyelinating Disease
  • Depression
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Diabetes
  • Dialysis
  • Esophageal Varicosities
  • Friedreich’s Ataxia
  • Hepatitis (Type B, C or Chronic)
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Obesity
  • Organ transplants
  • Paraplegia
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Polycythemia Vera
  • Pregnancy
  • Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Renal Failure
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Scleroderma
  • Sex reassignment
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome
  • Sleep apnea
  • Transsexualism
  • Tuberculosis

As you can see, the list is extensive.

In the AHCA, states are permitted to opt-out of mandating coverage for pre-existing conditions.

What is the likelihood of states opting-out of mandating coverage for pre-existing conditions?

Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-N.C.) believes patients with pre-existing conditions should move to another state if their current state denies them coverage.

“People can go to the state that they want to live in,” Pittenger said. “States have all kinds of different policies and there are disparities among states for many things: driving restrictions, alcohol, whatever … We’re putting choices back in the hands of the states. That’s what Jeffersonian democracy provides for.”

No one could accuse Pittenger of being a bleeding-heart liberal. If anything, the North Carolina Republican is heartless.

If a state opts-out of mandating coverage for pre-existing conditions, what Ryan said about you not being “denied coverage” becomes delusional.

Pittenger speaks of putting choices back in the hands of the states but fails to acknowledge he is advocating removing choice out of the hands of individuals.

Think about it. Let’s imagine you have a terminal heart condition. As a resident of North Carolina, you might be out-of-luck, for the state might be one of those which opts-out mandating coverage for pre-existing conditions. The ACA prevents such an eventuality from taking place.

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Shain E. Thomas, recently graduated with an M.Sc. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of North Texas, is currently working on an M.Sc. in Library Science. Shain, the senior editor of "Harsh Light," is also the U.S. Correspondent for "The Welshman" and a regular contributor to the "North Texas Daily."

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