House GOP members passed legislation on Thursday to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Part of the bill allows states to seek waivers exempting insurers from a prohibition on issuing higher premiums for people with pre-existing conditions. Today, Gov. Walker told the Associated Press that he would consider allowing insurance companies to raise premiums on some of the most vulnerable people in the state.
A major concern of the AHCA is how it rolls back important protections for people with pre-existing conditions, which could increase health care costs for millions of Americans. Insurers still cannot deny coverage outright, but they can hike up premiums to an unaffordable amount - effectively pricing people out of the market. Gov. Walker and Speaker Ryan both look to high-risk pools as an alternative to simply prohibiting insurance companies from raising costs or denying coverage, but even Wisconsin's high-risk pools left out roughly a half million people uninsured.
"The Governor has to know how important it is for people with pre-existing conditions to receive health care coverage and with such broad language defining pre-existing conditions in the AHCA it would be an act of cruelty to allow them to be priced out of their health insurance," Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Brandon Weathersby said on Friday. "The Governor should decline a waiver exempting insurance companies from prohibitions that help individuals with pre-existing conditions get the care they need."