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Senators Introduce the Protect Act to Ensure Protections and Affordable Coverage for Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions

April 10, 2019

Contact Caroline Tabler or James Arnold (202) 224-2353

Washington, D.C. - Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and others introduced the Protect Act, legislation that protects Americans with pre-existing conditions. The Protect Act amends the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to:

  • Guarantee the availability of health insurance coverage in the individual or group market, regardless of pre-existing conditions;
  • Prohibit discrimination against patients based on health status-including prohibiting higher premiums for patients due to pre-existing conditions; and
  • Prohibit insurance companies from excluding coverage of treatments for a beneficiary's pre-existing condition.
Read more about the Protect Act here.

Joining Senator Cotton and Senator Tillis as co-sponsors of the Protect Act are Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-Louisiana), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), David Perdue (R-Georgia), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia).

"Arkansans with pre-existing conditions should know that we're committed to protecting their coverage, despite all the flaws of Obamacare," said Cotton. "Our bill would guarantee that insurance companies can't discriminate against Arkansas citizens living with pre-existing conditions."

"I strongly believe that no hardworking American should ever have to go to bed worried about being denied coverage or treatment if they or their children have a pre-existing condition, which is why I'm introducing the Protect Act," said Tillis. "The American people have two distinct choices when it comes to the future of their health care. The one-size-fits-all approach being pushed by Democrats is a government takeover of our health care system and would eliminate choices for families. The American people deserve better. The Protect Act is an important first step towards protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions and pursuing patient-centered reform that will provide all Americans with the affordable and quality choices that work best for their needs and their budget."

"This legislation reaffirms that Americans with pre-existing conditions are protected against being denied a health plan, denied treatment for a pre-existing condition, or charged more for their condition," said Alexander. "It will make sure that regardless of what happens to Obamacare, protections for Americans with pre-existing health conditions will not change."

"Protecting patients with pre-existing conditions is something we can all agree on. I've long worked to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, even before the passage of Obamacare on a party line vote," said Grassley. "The Protect Act would provide peace of mind to millions of Americans who have been frightened by scare tactics being pushed in the media by self-interested politicians trying to convince Americans that this is a partisan issue. It's not. Passing this bill is a chance for Democrats to prove they care about the issue beyond its use as a partisan talking point. Health care decisions made in Washington impact every single American. It's the responsibility of Congress to put politics aside and work in the best interest of the people. That's exactly what this legislation would do."

"The greatest barrier to coverage for preexisting conditions under Obamacare is unaffordable health insurance and too high deductibles," said Dr. Cassidy. "As Republicans work to lower the cost of health insurance and expand coverage, this legislation preserves protections for preexisting conditions for those who have this insurance."

"No American family should ever have to worry that they will be denied health care coverage because of a pre-existing condition," said Portman. "This is a promise to the American people and I will continue to support this principle and fight to ensure it remains the law of the land."

"Obamacare is running off the rails, and we have to do something to make sure people with pre-existing conditions are protected no matter what," said Perdue. "Right now, the insurance packages being offered to most Americans are so expensive that they can't afford them. Premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed and priced people out of the market. In Georgia, 96 counties of 159 have just one carrier. Democrats claim they are covering pre-existing conditions with the so-called ‘Affordable Care Act,' but if you can't actually afford insurance, you're not protected from anything. President Trump is ready to work with Congress and get this done for the American people, and this bill is a good first step in that process."

"Texans shouldn't have to fear being denied access to affordable health insurance because of a pre-existing condition," said Cornyn. "This legislation will give them peace of mind they can choose an insurance plan for their families that offers quality, patient-centered coverage."

"No American should lose their health care because they have a pre-existing condition," said Cramer. "This bill ensures coverage is available and affordable no matter one's current health status, and it prevents insurance companies from denying coverage or increasing premiums due to pre-existing conditions. I urge my Senate colleagues to reject radical Democratic proposals that strip millions of Americans of their insurance plans and to support legislation that preserves and expands access to health care."

"We are working to improve health care for all Americans, and as part of that effort, I'm proud to again cosponsor this legislation to protect Americans' access to health care, regardless of whether or not they have a pre-existing condition," said Isakson. "While there are many differences of opinion over the Affordable Care Act, we can all agree that we cannot allow insurance companies to deny coverage for someone who has a pre-existing condition or cancel coverage to someone who develops a condition. This legislation ensures that Americans will have the guarantee that, no matter what happens to Obamacare, these important protections for pre-existing medical conditions will be the law of the land."

"I'm proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Protect Act," said Capito. "Protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions is simply the right thing to do."

"As a doctor and the husband of a breast cancer survivor, I know firsthand how important it is to make sure that patients with pre-existing conditions have the ability to get the care they need," said Barrasso. "The Protect Act clearly specifies in law protections for those with pre-existing conditions. The bottom line is protecting people - like my wife -with pre-existing conditions is not up for discussion."

"It is absolutely necessary that we protect people with pre-existing conditions," said Scott. "This is personal for me. I remember my mom, who didn't have insurance, struggling to find care for my brother who had a serious disease. She eventually found a charity hospital four hours away where he could get treatment. I'm proud to co-sponsor Senator Tillis's bill that guarantees protections for pre-existing conditions. No matter what happens in the courts, it's imperative that we guarantee these protections and continue working to recuse health care costs for American families."

"I don't know a single person, Republican or Democrat, who thinks we shouldn't cover pre-existing conditions," said Kennedy. "It would behoove all of us to have a replacement health care plan ready, and we need to get started now. In the meantime, we can assure American families that they won't be denied health care coverage if they have a pre-existing condition."

"When it comes to healthcare, Hoosiers want freedom, choice, and flexibility. We also want to protect people with pre-existing conditions," said Young. "I'm joining Senator Tillis to introduce legislation that will help ensure patients with pre-existing conditions aren't denied coverage."

"Americans should not be denied access to the health care coverage they need because of a pre-existing condition," said Burr. "While the Affordable Care Act is systemically flawed and our health care system is facing 21st century challenges, standing up for those with pre-existing conditions is something we can all agree on. The Protect Act will help provide security and peace of mind for millions of Americans."