200 patient groups ask Price to keep protections for those with pre-existing conditions

200 patient groups ask Price to keep protections for those with pre-existing conditions
© Getty

More than 200 patient groups are asking the newly confirmed Health and Human Services secretary to preserve key ObamaCare protections, including one that guarantees coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. 

In a letter to Tom Price, I Am Essential, a coalition of patient and community organizations, says certain ObamaCare provisions have provided improved access to care to millions living with chronic and serious health conditions. 

"If they lose access and coverage for even one day, their health and well-being can be immediately jeopardized," the letter reads. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"Therefore, providing them with continuous coverage and consistent care and treatment must be your number one priority." 

The organizations, which include the AIDS Institute and the Epilepsy Foundation, ask Price to keep ObamaCare provisions that prevent insurers from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and others that say insurers can't establish lifetime coverage limits and annual out-of-pocket costs. 

The organizations also ask Price to keep the requirement that says insurers must provide 10 essential benefits, including prescription drugs, mental health and substance use services and preventive services. 

"We cannot depend on insurance companies to automatically cover these services going forward," the letter reads.

"We strongly believe that any changes to our health coverage system must maintain this minimum set of benefits to ensure that beneficiaries, regardless of where they live or what health plan they choose, can receive the care and treatment they depend on or may need in the future."

All of those protections may be on the chopping block as Republicans look to repeal ObamaCare, however. 

Republicans say cutting some of the law's essential health benefits would lead to cheaper, less comprehensive healthcare plans.

Republicans have also indicated they may cut ObamaCare's pre-existing conditions provision in favor of establishing high-risk pools.

The pools which would offer coverage for sick people if the provision is repealed, though their premiums may be much higher.