August 22, 2018

Insurance vital for those with pre-existing conditions | Martinsburg Journal

Do you know someone who has one of these pre-existing health conditions? Is it you? Did you know 20 U.S. Attorneys General, including in West Virginia, are suing to allow insurance companies to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions? In West Virginia, that’s nearly 800,000 of our friends, neighbors and family members.

This impacts every family in West Virginia, including 90,600 children who have a pre-existing condition. But despite the importance of protecting these people, Republicans in Congress have tried more than 50 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act without working in a bipartisan way to fix the problems while preserving the good parts of the law. I voted against efforts to undermine the health care law and strip West Virginians of the coverage they rely on.

Additionally, I have supported two bipartisan compromises, one led by Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., and another one led by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Bill Nelson, D-Fla. These bills include important steps that will help reduce health care costs for West Virginia families, and this agreement shows what is possible when we put people before politics. It’s shameful that Congressional Republicans refuse to bring that bill up for a vote. Now that the recently passed tax law destabilized the health care markets, it is more important than ever that we act on this bipartisan fix before health care premiums spike for West Virginia families.

Yesterday, I participated in a roundtable with community members in Shepherdstown to discuss the lawsuit threatening West Virginia’s access to health insurance. I was joined by two cancer survivors, clergy members and health care professionals. This diverse group of participants is representative of the sweeping impact a repeal would have on our state.

I’ve heard from people across the Eastern Panhandle about the impact this lawsuit could have on their lives. William from Martinsburg wrote to me because he fears he will no longer be able to afford his diabetes medicine if insurance companies are able to deny him coverage. He has been a diabetic for more than 20 years and takes five medications to keep his disease under control. Without health insurance, William would be unable to afford the $1,000 a month out of pocket expenses.

West Virginians agree that we cannot go back to a time when insurance companies played God and decided who was insured and who was not. For a lot of West Virginians with pre-existing conditions, insurance coverage is the difference between life and death.

By:  Senator Joe Manchin