As the clock winds down to the midterm elections, Democrats are single-mindedly focused on one hot-button issue: pre-existing conditions. The Democratic machine has convinced the party’s base, along with many independents and even Republicans, that if the GOP retains control of the House of Representatives, Americans will lose the precious protections afforded them by Obamacare — and especially the one that says if you come to an exchange with a past chronic illness, no sweat: You’re covered.
Using this scare tactic as the foundation of a massive PR campaign — From January to July, Dems spent some $17 million for 56,000 health care ads — the party of no has catapulted health care to the number one concern among voters. And they have accomplished this goal by both exaggerating the problem and distorting the Republicans’ approach to health care reform.
As Investor’s Business Daily notes:
ObamaCare extended pre-existing protections to only a relatively small portion of the population — those who buy insurance on their own. The individual market comprises just 7% of the total insurance market. And of those, only a much smaller fraction had ever been denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions before ObamaCare.
Everyone else already had this protection. State and federal laws already mandated that large group plans couldn’t charge more or deny coverage for someone because of a pre-existing condition. States had similar laws in place for small group plans.
Medicare and Medicaid, which cover 33% of the population, provide guaranteed coverage to those eligible. As does the Veterans Health Administration, which covers nearly 9 million veterans.
The Democrats have kept these realities tightly under wraps, along with another important one. While their doom-and-gloom ads have suggested that countless Americans went broke attempting to pay for costly pre-existing conditions, there has always been a limit on how long insurers could exclude a policy holder from coverage:
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) … allows insurers to refuse to cover pre-existing medical conditions for up to the first twelve months after enrollment, or eighteen months in the case of late enrollment. [Emphasis added]
Something else the Democrats are loath to own up to is that Obamacare is failing.
Its rules and mandates led to double-digit price increases year after year, which have priced millions of families out of the insurance market altogether. (So much for guaranteed coverage.) Those who can afford ObamaCare coverage have no choice but to enroll in HMO-style plans with extremely high deductibles. (So much for making insurance “affordable.”)