Gov. Edwards testifies before the House committee on bill to protect LA residents with pre-existing health conditions

Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks to the press at a luncheon hosted by the Louisiana Press Association at the City Club in Baton Rouge. (Photo credit: Madeline Meyer, LSU Manship School News Service)

Published: Apr. 25, 2019

By: Lauren Heffker and Madeline Meyer, LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE — Gov. John Bel Edwards testified before a House committee Wednesday in support of a bill that would protect 850,000 state residents with pre-existing conditions if the federal Affordable Care Act is repealed.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Chad Brown, D-Plaquemine, is part of Edwards’ legislative package and would prohibit discrimination against health insurance applicants due to pre-existing problems.

“This is not the political thing to do,” Brown said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Brown also proposed an amendment that would keep his bill from taking effect if the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is completely overturned in court. If the federal act is partially invalidated in a way that strips protections of pre-existing conditions but leaves the subsidies in place, the bill would go into effect.

Without federal funding, protections for pre-existing conditions could lead to millions of dollars in premium increases. If Brown’s bill does not pass or if the subsidies are not there, no protections would be guaranteed.

The committee deferred voting on the bill, which would not have an impact on state revenues or spending.

Edwards said that while the bill is not a perfect substitute for current provisions in federal law, it deserved bipartisan support. “It seeks to protect those portions of the Affordable Care Act that just about everybody believes in,” he said.

Read more in the Bossier Press-Tribune.

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