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Health care law did not end discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions.

Demonstration at Humana corporate headquarters, Louisville, KY

Demonstration at Humana corporate headquarters, Louisville, KY

The letter urges action against discriminatory benefit designs that limit access for patients that were subjected to pre-existing conditions restrictions prior to the ACA. They spell it out. Some plans do not include all the drugs prescribed for enrollees. Some plans don’t cover critical medications including combination therapies. Plans can remove medications during the plan year. Some plans are restricting access to drugs by requiring prior authorization, step therapy, and quantity limits. The network of physicians and hospitals in some plans is so narrow as to deny patients the specialty care needed. Much of the information needed for patients to choose the most appropriate plan is not available

by: Kay Tillow
FireDogLake Friday March 6, 201

In 2010 the giant health insurance company WellPoint created an algorithm that searched its database, located breast cancer patients, and targeted them for cancellation of their policies.

A few years earlier Michael Moore’s stunning documentary, “Sicko,” showed an unending list of illnesses that had been used by insurers to refuse to sell people policies, to charge them much more, or to deny payment for “pre-existing conditions.”

The public became acutely aware of these harmful, widespread practices and sharply condemned them.  So it was not by chance that this insistent popular support resulted in inclusion of a ban on these practices in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that was passed in 2010.

The government website explains.  “Your insurance company can’t turn you down or charge you more because of your pre-existing health or medical condition like asthma, back pain, diabetes, or cancer.  Once you have insurance, they can’t refuse to cover treatment for your pre-existing condition.

Even some Republicans who are trying to repeal the ACA insist that they stand for keeping a provision against such discrimination.  “We would protect people with existing conditions,” say Reps. Paul Ryan, John Kline, and Fred Upton.

Regardless of opinions on mandates or the health reform law in general, the entire nation embraced the part of the legislation that outlawed discrimination on the basis of illness.

So we’ve won, right, at least this much reform?  Sadly, no.

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