Romney: Repeal health law, keep pre-existing conditions clause

Mitt Romney said Tuesday that while he would repeal President Obama’s healthcare reform law if elected, whatever law replaces it should include a provision to ensure those with pre-existing conditions keep their insurance.

“I want to make sure that people can't get dropped if they have a pre-existing condition,” Romney said at a campaign event in Orlando, adding that a hypothetical new law should make sure that those “who have been insured in the past are able to get coverage.”

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The presumptive GOP nominee was referring to those with pre-existing conditions who already have insurance but have to switch insurers because they changed jobs, not those with pre-existing conditions looking to purchase healthcare insurance for the first time.

Insurers have historically been able to deny coverage to sick people or offer policies that don’t cover their pre-existing conditions, but President Obama’s healthcare law requires insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions — even for first-time buyers.

Earlier this year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said those protections applied to as many as 112 million adults.

But under Romney’s proposal, it’s unclear how insurance companies could cover those with pre-existing conditions without the individual mandate — a portion of the act Romney has unequivocally said he will repeal, unless the Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional first.

While arguing to repeal and replace the president’s healthcare law, some in the GOP have advocated for keeping popular provisions, such as covering pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on their parents' plans until the age of 26.

Democrats argue that the popular provisions won’t work under a scaled-back version of the law.

Healthcare policy dogged Romney during the GOP primary, as his rivals alleged that the state law he instituted as governor of Massachusetts was a model for the president’s law.

Romney has argued that his plan did what was best for his constituents at the state level, and that he never would have advocated that it be implemented nationally. However, earlier in the cycle, an editorial from 2009 surfaced in USA Today in which Romney seemed to do just that.