Protecting those who need it the most (Rep. Brad Ellsworth)

I had a constituent, Kay Mobley contact me for help. Kay has a pre-existing condition and cant get health insurance, but her COBRA is about to run out and right now we would ask her to roll the dice for six months without insurance before she can get into the high risk pool.

That is not what we intended when we passed this bill. Unless we act, we are going to leave affordable health care coverage just out of reach for some of the most vulnerable Americans who need it most. The healthcare reform law set up state by state "high-risk pools" to guarantee Americans with a pre-existing condition access to affordable insurance.

The new law includes a requirement that individuals be uninsured for six months before enrolling in the high-risk pools, designed to ensure no one games the system and drops their current coverage for this new program. At the same time, a bureaucratic misinterpretation of that protection is set to leave millions of unemployed Americans without a viable option for coverage. In fact, the officials in charge of implementing this new program are saying that rule requires unemployed patients who have exhausted their 18-month COBRA benefits to wait six months before they can even apply for an affordable policy through the high-risk pool program.

Congress never intended to deny access to affordable insurance to Americans with no other options. So today I introduced the High-Risk Pool Fairness Act, which ensures Americans with pre-existing conditions who are kicked off their COBRA insurance can access affordable insurance through these high-risk pools without going six months uninsured. This bill will allow unemployed workers who have recently exhausted their COBRA benefits or who are close to that point to apply for coverage through the high-risk pools.

But if we are going to get this done I need your help. Too often in Congress good ideas are crushed under the weight of partisan bickering. We can't let this happen. I need you to contact your Member and ask them to support this common-sense approach to solving a real problem. Millions of Americans need our help. They are calling 911 and need us to answer the call.

Cross-posted from The Huffington Post

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