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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 1549 - The Helping Sick Americans Now Act

April 23, 2013


(House Rules)

(Rep. Pitts, R-PA, and 16 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly supports policies that ensure all Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to affordable health care. This is why the Affordable Care Act banned most insurance companies from charging more or excluding coverage based on an individual's pre-existing condition starting in 2014. It is also why the health care law adopted a temporary high-risk pool plan, called the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), to provide a bridge to the new system starting in 2014. PCIP has provided coverage to Americans who are uninsured and would otherwise be denied health coverage because of their health condition. Because of the high cost of care for the over 100,000 people enrolled in PCIP, HHS made a number of adjustments to the program, like negotiating lower provider payment rates, to ensure responsible management of the $5 billion provided by the Congress. To ensure sufficient funding through the year for current enrollees, HHS suspended new enrollment in PCIP starting in February and March, 2013.

While the Administration would like to extend coverage to as many Americans as possible, rather than finding common ground on a funding source, this legislation effectively would repeal part of the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care gives hard-working, middle-class families the security they deserve. The Affordable Care Act forces most insurance companies to play by the rules, prohibiting them from dropping your coverage if you get sick, billing you into bankruptcy through annual or lifetime limits, and, soon, discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition.

The Affordable Care Act created the Prevention and Public Health Fund to help prevent disease, detect it early, and manage conditions before they become severe. The Fund supports critical investments such as tobacco use reduction, and programs to reduce health-care-associated infections and the national burden of chronic disease, as well as helping to ensure Americans have access to affordable coverage for preventive benefits. By concentrating on the causes of chronic disease, the Fund helps more Americans stay healthy.

The Fund has maintained high-priority activities to improve health outcomes. This legislation effectively would eliminate the Prevention Fund for the next three years, forcing an end to key prevention programs it supports.

If the President is presented with legislation that would effectively repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund for 2013 through 2016, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto it.

Barack Obama, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 1549 - The Helping Sick Americans Now Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project