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At Ways and Means Committee Hearing, Higgins Defends Protections for Pre-Existing Conditions, Encourages Expanding the Medicare Model to More Americans

Jun 13, 2019
Press Release

During a House Ways and Means Committee hearing titled “Pathways to Universal Health Coverage,” Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) discussed the importance of defending pre-existing conditions protections codified in the Affordable Care Act, and stressed that the Medicare model, which has proven to provide quality, cost-effective healthcare, should be available to more Americans. 


During his remarks, Congressman Higgins said:


“Prior to the Affordable Care Act if you had a kid that was stuck with Childhood Cancer, an insurance company could deny you coverage because it's a pre-existing condition. You can't do that anymore, because it's against the law.


“There's only one federal law that provides protection for people with pre-existing conditions, and it's the Affordable Care Act. So if you vote to repeal it 70 times, you do not support protecting people with pre-existing conditions. If you join a lawsuit to challenge the Affordable Care Act in a Texas appeals court, to deem unconstitutional the pre-existing conditions mandate, you do not support protecting people with pre-existing conditions.


He also said: “51% of the non-elderly population has at least one pre-existing condition. 75% of the people between the ages of 45 and 54 have a pre-existing condition. 84% between the ages of 55 and 64 have a pre-existing condition. The good thing is, those over the age of 65 Don't have to worry about it because Medicare always covered pre-existing conditions.”

To see Congressman Higgins’ full remarks from the hearing, click the photo above or go to:

In New York State alone, more than 8.3 million people under the age of 65 have pre-existing conditions, and 288,000 of those people are in Congressman Higgins’ Western New York district.


Congressman Higgins is the lead sponsor of H.R.1346, the Medicare Buy-In and Health Care Stabilization Act of 2019 and which was introduced earlier this year along with Congressmembers John Larson (CT-01), Joe Courtney (CT-02) and Peter Welch (VT-AL). The legislation allows the millions of Americans aged 50-64 to buy into the popular Medicare program as they approach retirement age and are more likely to have pre-existing conditions and face premium increases. The bill has 42 cosponsors total. Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI) has introduced similar legislation in the Senate.


At the hearing, members and witnesses also discussed other plans that seek to achieve universal health care, including Medicare for All and Medicare for America, bills Congressman Higgins is also cosponsoring.