Miss. Senator Critical of Partisan Trivialization of an Issue with Broad Bipartisan Support
U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today reiterated her support for protecting health coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions and criticized Senate Democrats for trivializing bipartisan desires to ensure health insurance access for those individuals.
Hyde-Smith on Wednesday night voted for the Senate to proceed to the Protect Act (S.4675), a bill to codify separately into law the pre-existing conditions provisions of the flawed Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Enactment of such a law would assure individuals with pre-existing conditions are not denied health coverage or charged more for the care they require, regardless of the fate of Obamacare overall.
“We all know people with pre-existing conditions, some of whom are our own family members. Not one of us want insurance companies to put them in harm’s way,” said Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee.
“I regret that progress is perpetually hamstrung by partisan games that, interestingly enough, always reach a fevered pitch every other October. Instead of engaging in these partisan games, we should all be working together to give Americans more affordable health insurance options within a healthcare system that works better for patients and families,” she said.
The vote on the Protect Act stalled on party lines, as did a separate Democratic measure voted on Thursday. Both votes were spurred continued efforts to enact more patient-centered policies and ongoing legal challenges to Obamacare.
The Protect Act, which Hyde-Smith cosponsored Thursday, would amend the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to:
- Guarantee the availability of health insurance coverage in the individual or group market, regardless of pre-existing conditions;
- Prohibit discrimination against patients based on health status, including prohibiting increased premiums for patients due to pre-existing conditions; and
- Prohibit insurance companies from excluding coverage of treatments for a beneficiary’s pre-existing condition.
The bill aligns with President Trump’s Executive Order on An America-First Healthcare Plan, released on Sept. 24, 2020. It outlines the President’s ongoing commitment to protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions and reaffirmed that “[i]t has been and will continue to be the policy of the United States to give Americans seeking healthcare more choice, lower costs, and better care and to ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions can obtain the insurance of their choice at affordable rates.”
Last October, Hyde-Smith was part of a successful effort to stop a Senate Democratic effort to overturn the Trump administration’s State Relief and Empowerment Waivers guidelines, which give states greater flexibility in administering Obamacare mandates.