July 26, 2018

ICYMI: Manchin Again Reads Letter from West Virginians About Importance of Protecting Coverage for those with Pre-Existing Conditions on the Senate Floor

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) took to the Senate floor for the second time to read letters from West Virginians about the importance of continuing to require insurance companies to cover those with pre-existing conditions. An ongoing lawsuit, led by 20 U.S. Attorneys General, including the Attorney General of West Virginia, and no longer being defended by the U.S. Department of Justice, would allow insurance companies to once again deny coverage to West Virginians with pre-existing conditions.

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s remarks, click here.

Read Senator Manchin’s floor remarks as prepared for delivery below:

I rise again to read letters from West Virginians about the concerns and fears they have over the ongoing lawsuit being led by 20 U.S. Attorneys General, including West Virginia’s own Attorney General, that threatens to once again allow insurance companies to deny coverage to West Virginians with pre-existing conditions.

800,000 West Virginians, including 90,600 children, have a pre-existing condition. What qualifies as a pre-existing condition?

•           Organ transplant

•           Anxiety

•           Cancer

•           Heart Disease

•           Alzheimer’s Disease

•           Crohn’s Disease

•           Parkinson’s Disease

•           Cystic Fibrosis

•           Pneumonia

•           Epilepsy

•           Anemia

•           Depression

•           Lupus

•           Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

•           Pregnancy

•           Anorexia

•           Diabetes

•           Kidney Disease

•           Sleep apnea

•           Obesity

•           Bipolar Disorder

•           Multiple Sclerosis

•           Cerebral Palsy

•           Stroke

•           Bulemia

•           Asthma

•           Tuberculosis

I have always said that our nation’s current healthcare system is in need of repair. But every West Virginian deserves access to quality, affordable healthcare. And I am very concerned our country is at risk of moving backward instead of forward.

When people ask why I voted against repealing the healthcare law, I always say it’s because we need to make sure those with pre-existing conditions don’t go bankrupt paying for basic healthcare. What’s happening today is an unfortunate political move. The only reason this lawsuit is moving forward is because they have failed to repeal the law.  Congress has voted more than 50 times.

What makes this worse is we have a bipartisan compromise led by Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray with 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats. This bill includes important steps will help reduce healthcare costs for West Virginia families, and this agreement shows what is possible when we put people before politics. Shame on us for not voting on that.

This is impacting real people. Last week, I asked West Virginians to share their stories with me and my office has been flooded with stories. I’m going to share just a few of these stories with you today.

Whitney from Morgantown

Dear Senator Manchin,

Please protect our pre-existing conditions.

In August 2016, my then 15 year old child suffered a stroke as the result of a brain AVM. He had to have emergency brain surgery which left him in a medically induced coma for several months.

When he woke up he was unable to walk or talk. He had to have continuous medical care including expensive MRI's and angiograms.

This doesn't include his multiple therapies. If we did not have insurance coverage I do not know what we would do.

I cannot afford all these medical bills without the help of insurance. Due to the extensive medical needs I know if his pre-existing condition is not protected he will eventually lose benefits.

I beg you to stand up for my child and all those who deserve a right to ongoing medical care. Please feel free to contact with any questions or follow up. 

William from Martinsburg

Senator Manchin,

It was imperative that insurance companies are not allowed to screen members for pre-existing conditions.

I am a 20+year Type 2 Diabetic.  I am currently taking 5 medications for my diabetes. If I did not have coverage I would be paying over $1000 a month, OUT OF POCKET, for just my diabetes meds.

If insurance companies are allowed to start screening for and disallowing pre-existing conditions I would not be able to afford my medications and my diabetes would not be controlled which could possibly lead to loss of limbs, loss of vision and I could die.

How much would I cost the government if I was disabled? How much would I cost an insurance company then if I had to have feet, arms, legs amputated?

Bottom line, I cost my insurance company less money when they help me keep my diabetes under control.

Thank you for taking a stand for those of us with pre-existing conditions. 

Kevin from Hinton

Senator Manchin,

I have lived with Crohn's Disease, a severe chronic illness of the immune system that attacks the digestive system.  The condition is painful and treatments are expensive. 

Like many West Virginians, I have dealt with insurance gaps and few jobs with good pay and benefits.

Though many Americans struggle with the expenses of healthcare, we remember the unfair practices before ACA was passed and improved the healthcare system by ridding us of pre-existing conditions clauses, which allowed insurance companies to overcharge sick people for care or block them completely. 

Please work for us to make sure the steps taken in ACA are improved upon, instead of allowing such beneficial measures to be cut.