Health Subcommittee to Examine Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Program to Help Those Most in Need

March 27, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), today announced a hearing for Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at 1 p.m. in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building entitled “Protecting America’s Sick and Chronically Ill.” Witnesses to be announced.

As part of the debate surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, members of both parties identified health care coverage options for individuals with pre-existing conditions as a key priority for health care reform. The Obama administration had initially promised that vulnerable Americans would be helped through 2014 by a temporary program that “makes health coverage available and more affordable for individuals who are uninsured and have been denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition.” Unfortunately, the administration recently eliminated that option when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services abruptly announced individuals seeking assistance would be barred from enrolling in Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Program (PCIP) because of financial constraints. During the hearing, subcommittee members will examine problems with the health care law's PCIP and solutions to help Americans with chronic conditions and diseases obtain affordable coverage. 

Subcommittee Chairman Pitts stated, “The president promised to provide affordable coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions who have been denied health insurance. However, the administration is now shutting out new enrollees from this program. Next Wednesday’s hearing will provide a chance for us to hear from experts and better understand how patients and state governments are working to address the challenge of providing health coverage to those who need it most.”

In a recent letter to President Obama, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts, and subcommittee Vice Chair Michael C. Burgess, M.D., along with House GOP leadership, recommended the transfer of funds from other programs in the health care law to PCIP to allow more Americans to enroll in PCIP. The leaders wrote, “Republicans have historically supported high-risk pools and reinsurance programs. In fact, the House Republican alternative to PPACA provided $25 billion to aid Americans suffering from pre-existing conditions through new universal access programs that reformed and expanded state based high-risk pools and reinsurance programs… while we still believe that our alternative would have provided better care and access for our most vulnerable Americans, it is time to temporarily set aside those differences and provide the resources necessary to assist those who need it most.”

Click here to read the members' letter to President Obama.

The Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted.