If you live in Iowa and are having difficulties paying for health insurance coverage, you now will have an alternative. This week, the Iowa Farm Bureau unveiled new “health benefit plans,” a lower-cost form of health insurance supported by Republicans that does not have to comply with Obamacare regulations. The plans will be offered to Iowans through insurance agents, and similar plans are being considered across the country, including in North Carolina.
There is a catch — a list of conditions that the Farm Bureau can cite to deny you access to these plans or charge you more for them.
It’s a list that should alarm Americans — not only those who can’t afford full-coverage health insurance, but anyone who has had or might someday suffer from the following conditions:
Ear, nose or throat.
Lung or respiratory.
Liver or pancreas.
Digestive or stomach.
Heart or coronary.
Brain or nervous system.
Bone or skeletal.
That covers, well, pretty much everything.
There are other, similar lists out there, including a lengthier list of conditions that likely would have caused a person to be denied coverage or pay more for coverage under the American Health Care Act that Republicans tried to pass in 2017. That list included acne and allergies, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
It is a reminder that what many congressional Republicans want is for there to be no Obamacare, which would mean that “health benefit plans” would be far from the only plans to treat preexisting conditions harshly.
It is also a reminder of the gap between what Republicans say about health insurance and what they appear to want. Republicans say now that they don’t want to take away such protections, but they have done little thus far to ensure that. President Trump also has assured supporters, even this week, that he would fight for patients with preexisting conditions, but government lawyers told a Texas court in June that they will no longer defend those Obamacare protections. That court could rule any day on whether the Affordable Care Act and its protections are constitutional.
Meanwhile, we check lists and wonder: How vulnerable are we going to be?