Big gaps in Romney plan on pre-existing conditions

The GOP health care plan leaves some people uncovered.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 9, 2012 1:46PM

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar

 

WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he has a plan to help people with pre-existing medical conditions get health insurance. But there's a huge catch: You basically have to be covered in the first place.

 

If you had a significant break in health insurance coverage an insurer still could delve into your medical history, looking for anything — from a bad back to high blood pressure — that could foreshadow future claims. They'd be able to turn you down.

 

That's a contrast to President Barack Obama's health care law, which guarantees that people in poor health can get comprehensive coverage at the same rates everybody else pays, and provides government subsidies to help low- to middle-income households pay premiums.

 

Starting Jan. 1, 2014, an insurer "may not impose any pre-existing condition exclusion," the law says.

 

Romney mentioned his pre-existing conditions plan during last week's presidential debate. "I do have a plan that deals with people with pre-existing conditions," he said.

 

His campaign has not spelled out details other than it would help people who have maintained continuous coverage. That involves making incremental changes to insurance laws and regulations, and may or may not whittle down the number of uninsured.

"It will solve some of the problems," said health economist Gail Wilensky, a longtime adviser to Republicans. "It won't solve the problem of people having gone for a long time without health insurance."

 

Since losing health insurance is often connected to major life upheavals like job loss or divorce, many people aren't able to keep up continuous coverage. More than 70 percent of the uninsured have been without coverage for a year or longer, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

 

Obama's answer — it's the law of the land unless repealed — is more like hitting the reset button. About 30 million uninsured people would gain coverage as the U.S. moves closer to other economically advanced countries that provide health care for all citizens.

 

The differences between the Obama and Romney approaches reflect a fundamental disagreement about the role of government in dealing with the nation's health care woes: high costs, uneven quality, widespread waste and nearly 49 million uninsured.

 

Republicans are looking for private-sector solutions that government can encourage. Under Obama, government has taken the wheel, framing a grand bargain in which insurance companies will have to accept all applicants in exchange for a requirement that virtually all Americans carry coverage.

 

About 13 percent of people age 64 and younger who apply for an individual policy are turned away for medical reasons, according to insurance industry statistics. In 2008, that was more than 220,000 individuals. The denial rate rises to nearly 25 percent for people age 50 to 64.

 

While Republicans are united in their desire to repeal Obama's law, there is no consensus within the party on how or whether to replace it.

 

Romney has been stressing his pre-existing conditions plan as he works to soften his public image in the homestretch of a campaign that appears to have tightened since last week's debate with Obama. Yet his campaign has only provided a bare-bones set of talking points.

 

Romney himself addressed the issue in a recent column for The New England Journal of Medicine. "Regulation must prevent insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage."

 

Most people already enjoy such protection under a 1996 law signed by President Bill Clinton. It works fairly seamlessly for people who switch from one job-based plan to another.

 

It's harder for people switching from job-based coverage to an individual plan. They first have to exhaust a coverage option known as COBRA, which allows people with job-based insurance to keep their health plan for up to 18 months after leaving the company, provided they pay the full premium. Many can't afford that.

 

And there's no federal protection against being turned down for people trying to switch from one individual plan to another.

 

Romney could address those two gaps, making it easier for people to switch from job-based to individual coverage and among individual plans. His campaign has not specified how.

 

In his journal article, Romney also proposed to allow people purchasing coverage individually to deduct the cost from their income taxes, and he expressed support for purchasing pools and for allowing insurers to sell across state lines. His campaign says states will have the flexibility and resources to design programs for residents who cannot afford coverage on their own.

 

Individual insurance market expert Karen Pollitz, who served in the Obama administration as a consumer regulator, says the components of Romney's plan are unlikely to provide as comprehensive a guarantee as the president's Affordable Care Act.

 

"The ACA just says insurance companies can't discriminate against you, period," said Pollitz, now with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. "If you've been uninsured, you can come into this market on Jan. 1, 2014, no questions asked."

 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

117Comments
Oct 9, 2012 2:38PM
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I have worked for over 35 years and always enjoyed the benefits of employer based health care plans.

In 2009 I was laid off from my job and exhausted my Cobra coverage.  I have pre- existing conditions,

and I realize that if romney were to win this election my wife and I are f***ed.  I cannot think of

any way that we will be able to purchase health insurance so it comes down to simply lying down and

dying from a health condition that can be treated but without health insurance will not be.

The really sad thing is that mr romney could give two **** about us and our problems because we do not

have enough money to be considered human beings.  This sucks.

 

 

 

Oct 9, 2012 2:48PM
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I did a fact check after the debate and found that  Romney had said a number  of misleading statements that sounded good if you were uninformed or misinformed. Honesty is still the best policy.
Oct 9, 2012 2:37PM
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The largest single item to plan for in retirement is health insurance (at least for me).  I want to have a national health care program.  I will agree at it needs some work, but it is still way better than the alternative.  I'm tired of seeing uninsured taking up spaces in our emergency rooms because they can't afford health care.  This option costs a lot more than insurance.  The other thing I've witnessed is people who can afford insurance but go without.  When a major medical event occurs they are still admitted and cared for in outpr hospitals, but they get most of their bill forgiven because they don't have insurance.  We all still pay for that.
Oct 9, 2012 2:08PM
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It’s easy to win a debate when you can say anything you want even if it’s not true anyone out there who would vote for a person on how they debate all I can say is why. What is he going to do for my country that is where it is? Just remember if you are not in the middle class that earns 200 to 250,000 a year he not interisted in you this story only conferms it.

Oct 9, 2012 2:59PM
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May God help us all if Romney is elected.....wake up America!!! It's easy for a wealthy man like Romney to make broad assumptions about who can afford private health insurance.  I know I couldn't if we lost our job based benefits. Romney and his ilk simply don't have the intelligence or desire to walk in the shoes of the true middle class, or those below that. We don't want a handout, just a little help while the economy tries to rebound from the mess the last Republican administration got us into. The Dems are the only hope we have. VOTE OBAMA/BIDEN
Oct 9, 2012 2:30PM
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Romney is an a roll. he thinks since he lied so well in the Debate, making a jack **** of Obama, that he now has the 75 milllion of us on metal cages on top of his car, like he did to his poor dog. Wake-up America before it's too late to save our country, vote Democrat, or the whole USA will collapsed in front of our eyes after the elections if unfortunately the crazy vote for Romney/Ryan!

The “Presidential Debate” scored tellers reporting on personalities, attitudes, and, lies, soon declared Romney the winner of the debate. Under what socio-political guidelines, human, and integrity, was the winner selected? The first stage of control for resolving the true winner, is “How many in percent of the articulated political statements weighted against the regulatory fact sheet were considered to be factual, human, practical and honest for the people of our country?” in this case a very large percent of articulated political, human, budges, statements from Romney that in less than a week switched for far left to center politically guidelines, later all
were found to be lies!! So, here we go! We declared a liar the winner! An un-factual contender, with an open multiple failure of honesty, and truth!! The second statement falls in the realm of highest level of human behavior. This consists in stating the humane facts, the advantages of their future political position for the people, and leave not to be bully, or demanding, or defamatory out of the encounter. Unfortunately Romney fails this second criteria by pushing his weight and wishes over the Moderator, he has a control job to do,
and by consistently demerits the opponent with lies, and changes in political positioning to create false advantage in the quest to the presidency!! The last, and third failure, Romney presented many phantom budgets proposals changes, and new political roads from previous stance to an audience of over sixty million
viewers; this is again a failure of honesty, truth, irresolute indecisions in the highest levels of human relations, because he again contradicted himself from previous solid political plans, in the previous total plans to serve his people of the USA if becoming president. Finally a winner was named, that by no means it was a winner, and the minds of whole USA citizens, has been smeared with untruth till the confused citizen may select the wrong/right leader in the White House! For all the rest of the USA, the ways of selecting a winner from a
“Presidential debate” will have no meaning until the laws of truth and decency are respected by the contenders signing the proper ‘Honesty declarations” perhaps it will work better if each presidential contender will speak to the nation, and a fact sheet given to citizens to review and selection! All this inequities need to be change, as the citizens later are the ones that pay the full price of an unjust, egotistic, bully, money hungry, selfish presidents that sinks the whole nation into the abysms of economical desolation, wars, and death that
very well may last for decades!!

Oct 9, 2012 3:50PM
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Romney claimed he can work across the aisle as he did in Mass. Guess what? He had no choice, it was 87% Dem. what the hell else could he do?
Oct 9, 2012 3:54PM
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There are gaps in everything Romley does and says. He was for abortion now he is against it. He is not a believable person on anything but wanting to finish what Bush started in decimating the middle class that started 2000-2008. They want people to not be covered and to die, they are not compassionate in any way but for the 1%. The sheeple who follow and vote for this is always angry afterward but the church tells them to vote for republicans so they do. Why ???

Oct 9, 2012 4:55PM
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Give me a break. All the president and congress have to do is develop and administer a "break even" budget. I have run several business' and I can tell you that it is possible for America to "break even". Yes; expenses have to be reduced and income may have to go up. However, the combination of the two will not have to be that bad. I can tell you that foreign aid needs to be studied and reduced. I am for telling every country getting aid that effective January 1, 2013 all aid is suspended until you can make a good case for your need. Trillions to be saved here. We are giving billions to countriies who mock us and want to destroy us. Senseless. They are never going to accept our form of democracy. You can not force democracy on anyone and have it be sustainable.

Oct 9, 2012 3:49PM
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 The fact that health care is a business pure and simple it's a shame health needs to all about money. People should want to be doctors to help mankind not just to make money. OBcare is the right direction improvements can always be made.
Oct 9, 2012 2:10PM
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The “Presidential Debate” scored tellers reporting on personalities, attitudes, and, honesty, soon declared Romney the winner of the debate. Under what socio-political guidelines, human, and integrity, was the winner selected? The first stage of control for resolving the true winner, is “How many in percent of the articulated political statements weighted against the regulatory fact sheet were considered to be factual, human, practical and honest for the people of our country?” in this case a very large percent of articulated political, human, budges, statements from Romney that in less than a week switched for far left to center politically guidelines, later all were found to be lies!! So, here we go! We declared a liar the winner! An un-factual contender, with an open multiple failure of honesty, and truth!! The second statement falls in the realm of highest level of human behavior. This consists in stating the humane facts, the advantages of their future political position for the people, and leave not to be bully, or demanding, or defamatory out of the encounter. Unfortunately Romney fails this second criteria by pushing his weight and wishes over the Moderator, he has a control job to do, and by consistently demerits the opponent with lies, and changes in political positioning to create false advantage in the quest to the presidency!! The last, and third failure, Romney presented many phantom budgets proposals changes, and new political roads from previous stance to an audience of over sixty million viewers; this is again a failure of honesty, truth, irresolute indecisions in the highest levels of human relations, because he again contradicted himself from previous solid political plans, in the previous total plans to serve his people of the USA if becoming president. Finally a winner was named, that by no means it was a winner, and the minds of whole USA citizens, has been smeared with untruth till the confused citizen may select the wrong/right leader in the White House! For all the rest of the USA, the ways of selecting a winner from a “Presidential debate” will have no meaning until the laws of truth and decency are respected by the contenders signing the proper ‘Honesty declarations” perhaps it will work better if each presidential contender will speak to the nation, and a fact sheet given to citizens to review and selection! All this inequities need to be change, as the citizens later are the ones that pay the full price of an unjust, egotistic, bully, money hungry, selfish presidents that sinks the whole nation into the abysms of economical desolation, wars, and death that very well may last for decades!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 9, 2012 6:13PM
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If the man who supposedly implemented medical coverage for all in MA can't even take a position on it (the pros vs the cons ~ what he might do differently on a national level), he doesn't deserve to be President.  I trust the government more than I do private corporations ~ how does this dimbulb even know how to create jobs when all he did was to elimninate them (to make lots of cash for himself) when he ran Bain.  Mittens is a white collar criminal who wears his Mormanism like he is one of God's chosen children.  He reminds me more of a Pharisee than of a Jesus follower by his thoughts & prior actions.
Oct 9, 2012 4:38PM
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In case nobody has noticed, the private sector has had plenty of opportunity to do a better job.  They have chosen not to bother.  It always amuses me when people start trumpeting the virtues of the private sector.  Do you really believe that waste and fraud only occurs within the government?  What about the Enron collapse, Bernie Madoff, the S & L debacle, the derivitive mess, doctors defrauding medicare, etc. etc.  The private sector is probably worse than the government when it comes to cheating, waste and fraud.  The government sector at least attempts to police itself.  The private sector only looks at the bottom line and how you arrive there is not their issue.

I trust government a lot more than I trust big corporations.  Corporations have more politics than Washington.  You get to the top based on who you know, not what you know.  And no one bothers to check your honesty.

Oct 9, 2012 4:35PM
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If this man can't be straightforward with what he really thinks, then we are bound to be surprised if he gets elected. In his past job at Bain Capital, he tore companies apart to make a profit. If he gets elected, he will tear the country apart to make the top 1% a profit.

 

You will never really know what he is thinking until he is elected. By then it will be too late.

Oct 10, 2012 5:19PM
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I need to ask the people that think that President Obama could have avoided the deficits that have occurred during his presidency can you answer me this.  The last year of President Bush term had a deficit of $1.3 trillion.  Why was it so much that year?  President Bush changed from $238 billion surplus in his 1st year to the $1.3 trillion deficit in his last year.  Why didnt President Bush simply put in place a balanced budget his last year?  

Fact is no one could.  Fact is that the deficits would have been as bad or worse if McCain was elected.  And with Romney tax plan ideas and spending ideas on military the deficit will increase not decrease.  
Oct 9, 2012 4:25PM
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Just vote for Obama..........BODY ENGLISH TELLS IT ALL !!!!!  I STOPPED COUNTING ROMNEY'S EYE BLINKS AFTER 125 !!! VERY TELLING.....
Oct 10, 2012 5:02PM
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Republicans. ZERO ideas. ZERO solutions.
Oct 10, 2012 10:56AM
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People need to realize that we will have Government involvement no matter which party is in control. We have a choice of do we want Government to continue to regulate Wall Street to keep us safe; or do we want Government intruding in our private health care decisions between our doctor and our self? The Government has no place in the doctor’s office; however the Republicans-Tea Party would have people comply with their ideology at the patient’s expense. That is wasteful… Forced unnecessary invasive medical treatment is a violation of rights. Making the person pay for the unnecessary procedure is outrageous.

Oct 11, 2012 6:52AM
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Nascarfan29 – you are confused; I imagine your condition is from inhaling too much exhaust fumes… Romney and businessmen like him are the reason we need government involvement. Those who will vote this guy into office will do so at the expense of the middle class. The social gap between the haves and have-nots WILL get larger. This is what causes Civil Wars! I’m voting for the only pro America choice. I’m voting to keep moving America FORWARD. I’m voting for the person who will not get the US in a War. I'm voting for Women's rights and equality for all. I'm voting to help my fellow American. I’m voting for our current President – President Barack Obama!

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