Saturday, October 9, 2010

short term victory?

Just over a month ago, I posted about the creation of the federally-funded temporary high-risk pool. The pool, which went into affect on September 1 in Illinois, will "provide transitional coverage to 2014 for the currently uninsured with preexisting conditions." The pool will last until 2014, when, under the health care reform bill passed earlier in 2010, it will then be illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage based upon pre-existing conditions. At that point, the pool will no longer be needed. In the September post, I mentioned that the pool, and piece of legislation that makes it illegal to deny coverage based upon pre-existing conditions, is great news for people with dwarfism, many of whom have been denied coverage because of dwarfism. In the past, people with dwarfism who were denied coverage had no legal resource to challenge the denial and, worse, often then had no insurance options.

With the November mid-term elections approaching, it appears that the recent gains affordable people with dwarfism and others with pre-existing conditions may be at risk. I am not a political expert, and don't know the platforms of all the candidates' challenging incumbent democrats, but it seems that if Congress switches from democrat to republican control, the health care bill passed in the Spring would be vulnerable to repeal.

Recently, at a "Values Voter Summit," 2008 Republican candidate Mike Huckabee said that people with pre-existing conditions are uninsurable. He compared insuring people with pre-existing conditions to insuring a house that has burned down or a car that has been totaled. Here a link to the statement from "Not Dead Yet News & Commentary," a blog written by my friend Steve Drake. As a person with a pre-existing condition, not only is such a statement offensive (I'm been called a lot of things in my life - never before have I been compared to totaled car), it's wrong. I'm probably the perfect consumer for my insurance company. Every paycheck, a chunk goes to my health care coverage. But over 10 years, but for a few physicals and a few eye exams, I've never used my insurance. They get all of my money (and all of my employer's money), but rarely do they provide me services. I am just one case, but a pre-existing condition does not determine a person's health record.

But Huckabee is not alone. An October 5 opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune says that repealing the health reform legislation will be realistic if the republicans earn a majority in the House of Representatives -- Dennis Byrne -- Obama Care can and must be replaced The Tribune Opinion piece by Dennis Byrne doesn't mention pre-existing condition as one of the ailments of the law. Bryne specifically targets rising premiums and a doctor shortage as reasons behind discontent about the law. But any attack on the legislation is an attack on pre-existing conditions.

While Little People of America supported the inclusion of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions in Health Care reform, LPA is not a partisan organization. Unfortunately, the organization may suffer a tremendous setback because of partisan politics. Hopefully, whatever party is in power come 2011, decisions will be made not based upon what a political party wants, but based upon what is good for the population. Though I may be biased, I can't understand why full health care coverage for everyone is not a good thing.

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