GOP Senator: Cruz Proposal May Gut Pre-Existing Conditions Protections

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

A Senate Republican who, so far, has not been seen as a stick in the mud as the GOP struggles to pass Obamacare repeal legislation said that a proposal currently being pushed by conservatives may be “subterfuge” to gut the Affordable Care Act’s pre-existing conditions protections, which many GOP lawmakers have vowed to protect.

“There’s a real feeling that that’s subterfuge to get around pre-existing conditions,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said, according to an Iowa Public Radio story posted Wednesday. “If it is subterfuge and it has the effect of annihilating the pre-existing condition requirement that we have in the existing bill, than obviously I would object to that.”

The amendment to the health care legislation that is currently stalled in the Senate was proposed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). It would allow for insurers to sell stingy plans that are not compliant with ACA regulations as long as they also sell at least one compliant plan.

Health care policy experts have warned that such a system would send healthy people towards the cheaper, less generous plans, while premiums for the more comprehensive policies needed by consumers with pre-existing conditions increase as they lose the healthy people in their risk pools.

A version of the legislation, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, that included the Cruz amendment was reportedly sent to the Congressional Budget Office over the recess for an analysis for its impact.

The proposal stands to be a flashpoint for Senate Republicans when they return from their July 4th break and try to revive the Obamacare repeal bill. A spokesman for Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) told Axios he would not support a bill that didn’t include the Cruz amendment, and outside conservative groups are also amping up their calls for it to be added to the legislation.