Engel Votes to Protect Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions

Engel Votes to Protect Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions

Washington, D.C.—Congressman Eliot Engel, a top Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee, voted to pass H.R. 986, the Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act, which blocks the Trump Administration’s latest efforts to weaken the Affordable Care Act’s critical protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. 

“The Trump Administration and its Republican puppets in Congress are dead-set on turning back the clock to when insurance companies could deny New Yorkers coverage for having pre-existing conditions, including diabetes, asthma and even a previous pregnancy. This assault on Americans’ health care has to stop,” Engel said. “Health care is a human right, not a privilege. Denying someone coverage because they have a pre-existing condition is discriminatory and immoral. We need to stop the Trump Administration in its tracks, which is why I was proud to have voted for the Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act.”

On October 22, 2018, the Trump Administration issued new guidance, which allows states to promote so-called “short-term, limited-duration” health plans. These health coverage options— better known as “junk plans”—allow insurers to eliminate coverage for pre-existing conditions, charge premiums based on health status, or reject patients altogether. The Administration’s guidance also enables states to use federal taxpayer dollars to subsidize the purchase of junk plans. This horrendous policy endangers the coverage of the 8,398,900 New Yorkers living with pre-existing conditions.

A coalition of 29 leading patient and health care advocacy groups,including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association, has expressed strong oppositionto the Administration’s guidance, statingthat, “This dangerous action could take us back to the days when people with pre-existing conditions were openly discriminated against and blatantly denied access to lifesaving care.”

Going forward, Congressman Engel will continue to oppose the Trump Administration’s efforts to sabotage and undermine the Affordable Care Act.    

This week, the House also passed with Rep. Engel’s support two bipartisan bills, H.R 1503 and H.R. 1520, to reduce the price of prescription drugs by removing barriers to more affordable generic versions of brand-name drugs.