Earlier this week, Mitt Romney confirmed that he would only require insurance companies to provide coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions if they recently had coverage, leaving millions of uninsured individuals in the lurch.
Romney would not extend pre-existing condition protections to all Americans. Instead, the states would be responsible for creating high-risk insurance pools that provide coverage to sick people who were turned away from coverage. From his campaign:
Fixing our health care system means making sure that every American, regardless of their health care needs, can find quality, affordable coverage. That is why Governor Romney supports reforms to protect those with pre-existing conditions from being denied access to a health plan while they have continuous coverage. And for those purchasing insurance for the first time, he supports reforms that empower states to make high risk pools more accessible by using cost reducing methods like risk adjustment and reinsurance.
But Obamacare already includes a temporary high-risk insurance pool for people with pre-existing conditions. And the GOP-inspired provision — the idea was part of Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) health care plan in 2008 — has failed to provide an adequate coverage solution. As Republicans themselves have pointed out, fewer people than expected have enrolled in the program and costs costs have been double what government officials expected because enrollees in the plan are older and tend to use more health care services. Without younger, healthier people to share the risk of the insurance plan, the premiums increase for those who enroll.
Or, as Romney himself explained to Jay Leno in March, insuring large pools of sick people is unsustainable. “You’ve got to get insurance when you are well and then if you get ill, you are going to be covered,” he told the Tonight Show host.