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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: June 19, 2018 03:50 PM
From: Representative Peter Schweyer
To: All House members
Subject: Prohibiting Health Insurers from Denying or Excluding Coverage Based on a Pre-Existing Condition (Companion to SB 958)
On February 26th of this year, 20 states filed a lawsuit against the federal government to challenge the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The lawsuit argues that, because Congress eliminated the individual mandate tax penalty of the ACA as part of tax reform legislation in December 2017, the entire ACA is invalid. As a representative of the United States government, the Department of Justice (DOJ) typically defends the laws of the land; however, on June 7, 2018, the DOJ announced that it will not defend several critical provisions of the ACA in court. One such provision includes the key patient protection that prohibits insurers from denying medical coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

If the DOJ persists in refusing to defend this provision of the ACA, and the lawsuit against it is successful, millions of people across this nation and in Pennsylvania may be left without health insurance or face paying exorbitant premiums to keep coverage. However, by passing a state law, we can preserve the pre-existing condition protection in the instance that the entire ACA is invalidated by the courts.

It is for this reason that I plan to introduce a companion bill to Senate Bill 958, introduced by Senator Hughes, which would prohibit health insurers from using an individual’s pre-existing medical condition to deny or exclude coverage under a health insurance policy. It is my hope that my colleagues join me in co-sponsoring this very important legislation in an effort to protect the health and wellbeing of all Pennsylvanians.

Introduced as HB2552