Health and Science

HHS Secretary Tom Price Firmly Defends Pre-Existing Condition Coverage in New Health Care Bill

Kalani Koenig
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price attends a meeting on healthcare hosted by President Donald Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on March 13, 2017 in Washington, DC.
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Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Sunday firmly defended health care legislation passed in the House this week against charges that people who have pre-existing conditions could see their insurance premiums rise under some circumstances.

Asked about the numerous health groups and organizations opposed to the bill during an interview on NBC"s "Meet The Press," Price responded, "What I believe they are not recognizing is this is a different and we believe better way" to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions or injuries.

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The House of Representatives on Thursday passed their version of the American Health Care Act, a bill that attempts to "repealing and replacing" Obamacare, but the bill is expected to go through significant alterations in the Senate.

In the House bill, states could seek waivers so insurers don't have to charge people who see their insurance lapse the same if they have a pre-existing condition.

States that get the waiver would be required to set up some kind of framework — such as a "high-risk pool" — to help out people who see their premiums rise so they can continue to maintain coverage. With the addition of new amendments, about $138 billion is allocated over the next 10 years to help people in these states pay for higher costs, but many insurance analysts predict even that won't be enough to cover everyone.

Pressed with statistics and his previous comments referring to the fact that older and sicker Americans would pay more, Price said, "those who are sicker, who are older, who are poorer — they will get larger subsidies so that they will able to get the kind of coverage they need and for their family."