Yesterday, Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mo Brooks said that “people who lead good lives” and who’ve “done the things to keep their bodies healthy” don’t deal with preexisting conditions. Then, the Republican from Alabama seemed to realize what he had just said, and added “in fairness, a lot of these people with preexisting conditions, they have those conditions through no fault of their own…and I think our society, under those circumstances, needs to help. The challenge though is that it’s a tough balancing act between the higher cost of these mandates which denies people coverage because they can’t afford their health insurance policies…and having enough coverage to help those people who are truly in need.” That’s right, it is tough. And the millions who’ve lived with—and without—the Affordable Care Act know this. You see, before the ACA, insurers weren’t required to accept patients with preexisting conditions—conditions including heart disease, asthma, diabetes, cancer, or being pregnant (yes, you read that correctly). Minnesotans and people across our nation understand how complex health care is, because they’ve experienced it firsthand while caring for themselves and their families. They don’t want to put their health in the hands of President Trump, who doesn’t understand the first thing about health care policy or how it affects people. And they certainly don’t want to leave it up to Congressional Republicans and the Freedom Caucus, who talked for years about reform but are again coming up short by producing yet another bad bill, one that would allow states to let insurers charge people with preexisting conditions as much as they want.
Instead of ripping away coverage from millions, imposing an age tax,or pricing sick people out of the market, let’s build on the ACA by stabilizing the insurance market, passing my legislation to reduce drug prices, and ensuring that nobody who needs health care—like Minnesotans who have a preexisting condition despite being “people who lead good lives”—can be denied insurance coverage.