Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Half of U.S. citizens have pre-existing conditions

Posted By on Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Is this surprising news? I mean, look around: Americans are fat and in love with processed food. Many of us continue to smoke — and bitch about smoking bans — despite knowing how harmful cigarettes are. We drive everywhere and spend way too much time in front of our electronic screens.

While not surprising, it is something we need to consider in the health care reform battle. Unhealthy people aren't good risks for insurance companies, so they either don't want to cover us or they want to charge much higher rates if they do. No wonder the industry doesn't want to be regulated.

Here's more from Reuters:

As many as 129 million Americans under age 65 have health problems that could hurt their ability to obtain health insurance or force them to pay higher premiums, a U.S. government study said on Tuesday.

The Department of Health and Human Services released the study as the House of Representatives prepared to take up a Republican bill to repeal the healthcare overhaul that was one of President Barack Obama's biggest legislative achievements in 2010.

U.S. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the House debate on the Republican-backed proposal, which starts on Tuesday, would provide an opportunity to spell out the benefits of the legislation that would provide coverage to as many as 33 million people who lack medical insurance.

"Under the old rules, if you had any kind of medical condition, whether you were a child born with a medical disability, a cancer survivor, a pregnant woman or, in some cases, even a victim of domestic violence, insurers could freely deny you application," Sebelius told reporters in a telephone briefing on the report.

The vote by the Republican-led House that is set for Wednesday will be largely symbolic since Democrats remain in control of the Senate and are unlikely to advance the repeal effort. But the repeal vote will help Republicans fulfill a campaign pledge and meet a key demand of conservative Tea Party activists, who were crucial to their winning control of the House and picking up seats in the Senate.

Read the rest of this article, by Donna Smith, here.

Further reading: Two N.C. Dems switch sides on health care vote

Here's a video that's attempting to explain how we got into this debate in the first place:

Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist and former life and health insurance agent who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.

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