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Thursday
Aug162018

Could you lose coverage for a pre-existing condition?

WV family fears losing protections for coverage of pre-existing conditions

Julie Warden was 21 years old and running track at West Virginia University when she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. At the time, she didn’t even realize someone her age could have arthritis. Julie, who is now Communications Director at WV FREE, Raising Women’s Voices’ Charleston-based regional coordinator, has continued to receive treatment for her arthritis over the past 12 years.

Thanks to the protections included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Julie has been able to get coverage for the health care she needs, despite having a pre-existing condition. Julie counts on her health insurance for medication, follow-up appointments and blood work to manage her condition.

While Julie appreciated how important coverage was for her own pre-existing condition, she didn’t fully realize how high the stakes were until a few years ago, when her young daughter, Remington, was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, which requires constant care and periodic trips to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Julie’s story illustrates what’s at stake for the estimated 358,000 West Virginian women and girls with pre-existing conditions, who could be charged more or denied coverage for individual insurance if this key provision of the ACA were overturned.

That’s why Julie (in black dress) spoke out at a press conference last week hosted by WVFree, West Virginians for Affordable Health Care and Protect our Care WV to highlight the importance of ACA protections for people with pre-existing conditions. They were addressing their concerns to West Virginia’s two Senators (Shelly Moore Capito, a Republican, and Joe Manchin, a Democrat) who will soon vote on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Kavanugh’s nomination has health care advocates worried that he might be sympathetic to a lawsuit filed by Attorneys General from 20 states  (including West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey) that could end ACA protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Julie described how she and her family would be personally affected if they lost their health coverage due to pre-existing conditions. She urged her Senators to “please stop putting our healthcare at risk for your political party,” concluding that “West Virginians deserve access to affordable health care, even with a preexisting condition.”


Do you or a loved one have a pre-existing condition? Speak out now!
 

The ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions are threatened not only by the pending lawsuit and the Kavanaugh nomination, but also by the Trump administration’s rules allowing more widespread sale of short-term and association health plans. These “Junk” health plans don’t have to comply with ACA rules, and so could exclude coverage for the treatments needed by many people with pre-existing conditions.

More than 130 million Americans – including an estimated 67 million women and girls – have pre-existing conditions. We’re guessing that you or a loved one would be harmed if the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions were overturned. We can’t let opponents of the ACA turn back the clock and deprive our families of coverage for the health care we need.

 

 

That’s why we’re urging you and your family members and friends to speak out now! Join us on social media next week as Raising Women’s Voices co-hosts two social media activities focused on pre-existing conditions:
  • On Tuesday, August 21, join a Twitter Storm from 2 to 3 pm organized by the National Partnership for Women and Families, and co-sponsored by Raising Women’s Voices. Use the  hasthtag #PreExAtStake. This action is part of a national Women’s Week of Action to call attention to what’s at stake with the SCOTUS nomination.
  • On Thursday, August 23, from 2 to 3 p.m., join us for a Twitter chat we’re co-hosting about what’s at stake for the 130 million people with pre-existing conditions. Use the hashtag #130MillionStrong.
What else can you do? Community Catalyst has a new Twitter tool that allows you to tweet directly at your member of Congress, asking them to sign on to a resolution defending the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions against attacks from the Trump administration and other threats.  You can click here to use that tool right now.


Patients, moms and doctors speak out at Washington hearing
 

During a Senate hearing in Washington today, patients, mothers and doctors spoke out about the importance of protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Elena Hung of Little Lobbyists, a group of parents who advocate for the care of their children special-needs children, explained why these protections matter to her. Elena’s four-year old daughter Xiomara was born with 10 pre-existing conditions, including complex medical problems affecting her airways, lungs, heart and kidneys. Xiomara spent the first five months of her life in a neo-natal intensive care unit, and now relies on a tracheotomy to breath and a feeding tube to eat.

Because of all her health problems, Xiomara is in constant need of medical attention. Elena describes her daughter today as “thriving,” but not without the help of countless hospital trips, specialist visits, and boxes of medical supplies. “Xiomara has made incredible progress,” says Elena, “and I am terrified that all that progress will be taken away.”

Elena criticized Donald Trump and the GOP for trying to take away the protections that help her daughter receive coverage for her all her medical needs. “How can the party that claims to be ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-family’ be leading the charge to repeal the protections that saved our babies lives?” she asks. “Children’s health should not be a partisan issue.” Elena will continue fighting against the efforts to repeal the protections for people with pre-existing conditions. “In a world that tells [Xiomara] no, I’m never going to stop fighting for her.”

Do you have a story about a pre-existing condition that you or someone else in your family has? Now is the time for you to speak up!

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