10.14.20

SCHUMER: LONG ISLAND FAMILIES WITH PRE-EXISTING HEALTH CONDITIONS HAVE DEEP WORRY ABOUT HEALTHCARE DECISION NOW HEADED TO SUPREME COURT; MORE THAN 1.2 MILLION LI’ERS 64 YEARS OLD & YOUNGER HAVE PRE-EXISTING HEALTH CONDITIONS (INCLUDING COVID); SENATOR MAKES CASE FOR COVERAGE

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Who Could Soon Sit On The Supreme Court, Has Actually Criticized Ruling To Uphold Affordable Care Act, Claiming That If Justices Read Law, They Would “Have Had To Invalidate” In Entirety; Decision Is Due In A Month 

Schumer Says This Stance Could Have Devastating Consequences For Healthcare Costs, Coverage & Federal Protections Now In Jeopardy As He Makes The Case For Upholding Those Protections Across All Of LI 

Schumer: More Than A Million LI’ers Have Conditions Like Asthma, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure & More; They Should Not Have To Worry About Their Healthcare Future 

Warning that the Supreme Court will hear a case on future of healthcare in less than a month and standing with the Health & Welfare Council along with Long Island families that have pre-existing health conditions themselves—or care for those who do—U.S. Senator Charles Schumer revealed that more than 1.2 million Long Islanders between the ages of newborn and 64 years have pre-existing health conditions like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, even cancers—and yes, now possibly COVID.

“The Long Island families here today are fighting for other families—the sick and the healthy—because they know each and every one of us is just one diagnosis away from a pre-existing condition,” said Senator Schumer. “The fact is, Long Island families with pre-existing conditions have deep worry for what the Supreme Court could do to them. With more than a million people on this Island alone potentially impacted we have to raise our voices, make our case and keep up the fight.”

“To sit back and not let Long Island stories be told could have devastating consequences for healthcare costs, coverage and federal protections we have come too far to just let slip away. That is why we are rallying today, alongside other communities in the country, who are making their stance on this issue clear to the Senate,” Schumer added.

Schumer explained that federal healthcare protections for Long Island families is at stake with the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and the pending case regarding the ACA. He detailed each Long Island Congressional District’s (CD) numbers, as well. Below is the total nonelderly population of people with pre-existing conditions (0-64 years of age) across Long Island:

NY-CD 1 (Zeldin)

NY-CD 2 (King)

NY-CD 3 (Suozzi)

NY-CD 4 (Rice)

310,000 Long Islanders

314,600 Long Islanders

307,100 Long Islanders

308,200 Long Islanders

Schumer said, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who could soon sit on the Supreme Court has already criticized the ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), claiming that a reading of the law should ‘invalidate’ it entirely. Schumer said this is worrisome for Long Islanders because federal healthcare protections mean peace of mind, and even life or death for many. Schumer and locals made the case for upholding the protections of the ACA before it heads to the Supreme Court next month. Families in attendance spoke about their worry and their health conditions, including an individual who has recovered from COVID-19.

“Judge Barrett strongly criticized the ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act, claiming that if Justices read the law the way she does, they would ‘have had to invalidate’ the entire health care law. Her record also makes clear that if she is confirmed, the reproductive freedoms that millions of women hold dear would be in grave danger. Should Judge Amy Coney Barrett be confirmed, a far-right majority on the court could also turn back the clock on women’s rights and a woman’s right to choose, workers’ rights, voting rights, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, environmental protections critical to Long Island and possibly more,” Schumer said.

According to the Center for American Progress, the court case now set for argument in the Supreme Court could have devastating consequences for people with preexisting health conditions. In Texas v. California, 18 states’ attorneys general—with support from the Trump administration—are challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, including the law’s consumer protections that prevent insurance companies in the individual market from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions. These protections include a ban on varying rates according to gender or health status, a guarantee that plans issue coverage to anyone who wants to enroll, a requirement that all plans cover 10 categories of essential health benefits and prohibition on coverage limits or exorbitant out-of-pocket costs that harm the sickest among us. If the court rules in the plaintiffs’ favor, the lawsuit could bring down the entire ACA.

According to HHS, a large fraction of non-elderly Americans have pre-existing health conditions. Without the ACA, as many as 51 percent (133 million people) could have been denied coverage, or offered coverage only at an exorbitant price, had they needed individual market health insurance before 2014. Under the Affordable Care Act, these Americans cannot be denied coverage, be charged significantly higher premiums, be subjected to an extended waiting period, or have their benefits curtailed by insurance companies. As many as 82 million Americans with employer-based coverage have a pre-existing condition, ranging from life-threatening illnesses like cancer to chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma, or heart disease.

Without the Affordable Care Act, such conditions limit the ability to obtain affordable health insurance if they become self-employed, take a job with a company that does not offer coverage, or experience a change in life circumstance, such as divorce, retirement, or moving to a different state. Further, the ACA prohibits employer-based insurance from imposing annual or lifetime limits on how much care they will pay for; prior to the ACA, about half of workers were in a plan with annual or lifetime limits. Older Americans between ages 55 and 64 are at particular risk: 48 to 86 percent of people in that age bracket have some type of pre-existing condition. And 15 to 30 percent of people in perfectly good health today are likely to develop a pre-existing condition over the next eight years, severely limiting their choices without the protections of the Affordable Care Act.  

“Any repeal—or attempted rollback of Affordable Care Act protections will leave our neighbors with preexisting conditions across Long Island unprotected and unequipped to deal with the most basic need of accessing health care in the middle of a global health crisis,” said Rebecca Sanin, President/CEO of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island. “COVID-19 has taught us that the well-being of all of us depends on the well-being of each of us and the protections of the ACA are needed to catalyze public health and safety for all communities.”

A “pre-existing condition” is a health condition that exists before someone applies for or enrolls in a new health insurance policy. Insurers generally define what constitutes a pre-existing condition. Some are obvious, like currently having heart disease or cancer. Others are less so – such has having asthma or high blood pressure, CMS has said.

Other benefits of the ACA now at risk include:

  • Millions of seniors on Medicare would be forced to pay up to $3,900 more in out-of-pocket drug costs. This includes drugs for commons diseases such as diabetes, breast cancer, prostate cancer and emphysema.
  • Insurers could once again treat being a woman as a pre-existing condition and charge them higher premiums, exclude women’s health benefits from their coverage, and even deny coverage altogether for past medical conditions – that includes having had a pregnancy. It would also eliminate the right to free birth control.
  • Due to the ACA expanding Medicaid eligibility to more low-income adults, New York has seen a more than 10% increase in its Medicaid enrollment. All those people who gained Medicaid under the ACA are at risk of losing it, which is especially devastating as Medicaid demand has increased while New York faces a historic economic crisis.
  • Children will no longer be able to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26.
  • Preventive care would no longer be required to be free.
  • Older adults could face massive increases in premiums as insurance companies would no longer be banned from charging older adults significantly more than younger beneficiaries.

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