Regardless of party affiliation or which party’s candidates voters cast their ballots for on November 6, the big winners in the midterm elections are all Americans with pre-existing medical conditions.
That’s because as of January 3, 2019, when the 116th Congress convenes, Republican-led efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act will be blocked by a Democratic majority in the House. For at least the next two years, Americans can sleep more soundly and stop worrying about being denied healthcare insurance coverage because of a pre-existing condition, or being charged more for coverage because of one or more pre-existing conditions, or discovering that their insurance denies coverage for services or treatments associated with a pre-existing condition.
Unfortunately, the news media and party pundits continue to waste valuable reporting time on which party was the biggest winner – Democrats for taking back the House or Republicans for holding on to the majority in the Senate. As the pundits continue to push the winner/loser line and who is up and who is down in the polls, they’re giving scant air time to the most important story that touches the lives of all Americans—affordable and dependable access to healthcare.
Democrats, in particular, are missing the opportunity to trumpet what might be the most consequential result of the midterm elections and drive home the message that Democrats have just won a victory that protects all Americans and their families. Incredibly, Democrats once again are failing to craft a unified message that reminds voters that Democrats belong to the party that conceived of and committed itself for more than eighty years to compassionate, life-saving, and family-affirming programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act.
A new message for Democrats
Democrats, if you’re paying attention, here’s my suggestion for the most important message to drive home from now until 2020:
America, because of our steadfast commitment to your health and well-being, you can stop worrying about being denied health coverage if
- You are one of the 82 million Americans with a pre-existing condition with employer-based coverage.
- You are one of the 50 to 130 million, or 19 to 50 percent of non-elderly Americans, with some type of pre-existing condition.
- You are one of the 44 million Americans with high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
- You are one of the 34 million individuals suffering from asthma or chronic lung disease.
- You are in the group of the 34 million people who have osteoarthritis and other joint disorders.
- You are a parent with a child who is suffering from a childhood illness, because 1 in 4 children might have been denied coverage if the protections of the Affordable Care Act had been eliminated.
And what are those pre-existing conditions? The list is long and encompasses most of the most common ailments. According to the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, here are just some of the pre-existing conditions that insurers used to routinely deny coverage for prior to enactment in 2014 of the Affordable Care Act:
- Alcohol abuse/drug abuse with recent treatment
- Mental disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other inflammatory joint disease
- Muscular dystrophy
- Cancer within some period of time (e.g. 10 years)
- Severe obesity
- Cerebral palsy
- Organ transplant
- Congestive heart failure
- Coronary artery/heart disease, bypass surgery
- Chrohn’s disease/ulcerative colitis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/emphysema
- Pending surgery or hospitalization
- Diabetes mellitus
- Penumocystic pneumonia
- Pregnancy or expectant parent
- Sleep apnea
- Hepatitis C
- Kidney disease, renal failure