Views from Kansas: Insurance under attack
Editor’s Note: Views from Kansas is a regular feature that highlights editorials and other viewpoints from across the state.
In their efforts to prove they can outfox the Affordable Care Act, 20 Republican state attorneys general are working to prove its unconstitutionality and in the process eliminate valuable protections for U.S. consumers. Top of the list is the provision that insurance companies must provide coverage to those with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease.
In Kansas, about 504,000 of our non-elderly would be regarded as having pre-existing conditions, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Denying these people health insurance “gives me pause,” admitted Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt who has joined the federal lawsuit on behalf of Kansas.
But not enough, obviously, to be deterred.
At essence is the health care act’s mandate that U.S. citizens carry health insurance or else pay a fine on their tax returns. Last year, however, Congress repealed the penalty when it reworked the tax bill, which, Schmidt maintains, should make Obamacare void. Without teeth, it’s unenforceable.
Other provisions in jeopardy if the AGs — all Republican — are successful are those that prevent health insurance companies from charging women and those chronically ill higher rates.
With Obamacare, the playing field was leveled. No matter your gender or health, your insurance premiums were the same. The only modifying risk factor acceptable for charging higher rates was for tobacco-users, a voluntary habit that can have unhealthy — and costly — consequences.
Schmidt says not to worry. That if the attorneys general prevail and eliminate the Affordable Care Act, he’s certain Congress will revisit health care quickly and make amends.
That’s no comfort at all.
When Schmidt and his cohorts discovered they could prove the health insurance plan was on shaky ground they went for the jugular, using a veil of legalese.
This is why people distrust government.
It’s not by the people, for the people.
It’s by the cunning, for the select few.
— Originally published in The Iola Register