Saturday, 30 March 2019 23:29

Pre-existing hostility inflamed over AG Landry's healthcare bill, Gov. Edwards

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The ever-so unhealthy John Bel Edwards vs. Jeff Landry feud has emerged, once again. The on-again, off-again legal wrangles between the two top state lawmakers broke skin today. The issue?  Healthcare.

In other words, a pre-existing hostile condition has spread into the Louisiana legislative healthcare arena over the uncertain and most-controversial issue of pre-existing conditions coverage. 

 

 

The Democratic Louisiana Governor and the Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry have battled fiercely and often in the courts in the halls of the legislature and the arena of public opinion. This time, the battleground is the Affordable Care Act or what Louisiana voters usually call, Obamacare.

Landry is pushing legislation that has been filed that, if passed, it would go into law if the Affordable Care Act were to be deemed illegal by the courts, specifically, the Supreme Court.

According to a Landry press release today:

– New Legislation has been introduced in the Louisiana Legislature to provide for the availability of guaranteed healthcare coverage for preexisting conditions and other patient protections should a ruling on the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act be upheld.

Following extensive discussions between Attorney General Landry, Speaker Barras, Health and Welfare Senate Chairman Mills, and Insurance Commissioner Donelon; new Legislation has been submitted by Senator Fred Mills as a framework in addressing preexisting healthcare conditions and patient protections.

The bill entitled, "Health Care Coverage for Louisiana Families Protection Act", prohibits the denial of healthcare insurance for preexisting conditions, eliminates lifetime limits on the dollar value of benefits and prohibits annual limits on the dollar value of essential benefits, allows for healthcare coverage on parent policies for any child until the age of 26, and ensures that any healthcare plan provide for essential health benefits including ambulance care, emergency services, maternity and newborn care, hospitalizations, pediatric care, and prescription drugs among others.

As Attorney General Jeff Landry and Speaker Taylor Barras noted in interviews last September, Louisiana Republicans  believe people with preexisting health conditions should be protected.  Working with Senator Fred Mills, Insurance Commissioner Donelon and other leaders a focus has been placed on expanding healthcare choices, increasing coverage, patient protections, and reducing healthcare premiums.  The legislation introduced provides an initial framework in reaching those goals.

A MONDAY PRESS CONFERENCE WILL BE HELD TO DISCUSS THIS LEGISLATION:

Last December, a federal court ruled the Affordable Care Act (known as Obamacare) is unconstitutional. This followed years of additional problems with the plan including cost overruns, the cancellation of some private health insurance policies, and the loss in choice of doctor for some patients. Should the ruling be upheld, the power to improve healthcare returns to the states for local solutions.

,As one might expect, the Governor's office does not quite believe that Landry and the Republican legislature have the best prescription. Thus, it has issued its own presser:

Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued the following statement on discussed legislation supported by Attorney General Jeff Landry to address a problem that Landry has caused by involving Louisiana in a lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which hundreds of thousands of Louisianans rely on for health care coverage.

“It’s ironic that the Attorney General wants to try and take credit for fixing a problem that he himself caused by involving the state in a lawsuit that eliminates protections for people with pre-existing conditions, without having a plan in place or consulting with anyone before doing so. Let’s be clear: Jeff Landry endangered the health coverage of almost 850,000 people in Louisiana with pre-existing conditions because he was more concerned with politics than with real people,” said Gov. Edwards. “This bill is very similar to legislation I requested that was filed this week by Representative Chad Brown to make sure that insurance companies cannot discriminate against Louisianans based on their health status. I have always said the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but that the protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions are critically important.”

Click here to view HB 237 which the Governor asked Representative Chad Brown to file. The bill includes the following provisions:

  • If a health insurer creates a health insurance plan, it must offer it to all Louisianans, regardless of a person’s health status
  • An insurer cannot exclude someone from a plan’s benefits due to a pre-existing condition
  • Health insurance must cover essential health benefits
  • Health plans cannot establish yearly or lifetime dollar limits on the number of services they cover

This builds upon current Louisiana law that does not allow insurance companies to charge more because of a person’s health status and allows young adults to stay on their parent’s health plans until age 26.  

Governor Edwards’ previous statements on this issue:

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