Health and Science

GOP congressman on health care: We're protecting people with pre-existing conditions

Key Points
  • People with pre-existing conditions will "absolutely" be covered at an affordable price under the GOP health-care bill, Rep. Markwayne Mullin said.
  • The bill peels back layers of regulations and brings insurers into the market, he said.
  • He said it will allow the patient to be able to shop for coverage.
Rep. Mullin: GOP has votes to cross the floor

People with pre-existing conditions will "absolutely" be covered at an affordable price under the Republican's new health-care bill, Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., told CNBC on Thursday.

The House of Representatives passed the measure on Thursday afternoon.

"Pre-existing conditions have never been on the table. There's been a lot of confusion about it," Mullin said in an interview with "Power Lunch" ahead of the House vote on the bill.

The problem now, he said, is that five states currently have no insurers in the exchanges, which means people with pre-existing conditions have nowhere to go. This new bill will bring insurers back into the market, said Mullin, who is a member of the GOP whip team.

"We're actually protecting people with pre-existing conditions, at the same time giving them the ability to actually shop health care that works for them."

To bring commercial insurers back, the GOP wants to peel back "layers and layers of bureaucracy and regulations that's piled up on the insurance carriers," he explained.

Mullins said the legislation also changes the ratio of the risk pool, allowing insurers to spread out the costs associated with high-risk patients.

"It's going to allow the patient to be able to go hunt or shop actually in a market where people are competing for our business again."

However, an Avalere Health study released Thursday found that the Republicans' bill doesn't allocate enough money to protect people with pre-existing conditions from potentially higher premiums.

The bill's $23 million in funding for such people would cover just 5 percent of the 2.2 million current enrollees in the individual insurance market with some type of pre-existing condition, the analysis found.

— CNBC's Dan Mangan contributed to this report.