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Congresswoman Opposes Federal Law Preventing Insurance Companies From Denying Care To Leukemia Patients

By Scott Keyes and Adam Peck on August 30, 2012 at 1:45 pm

"Congresswoman Opposes Federal Law Preventing Insurance Companies From Denying Care To Leukemia Patients"

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Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

TAMPA, Florida — There should be no federal law preventing insurance companies from denying coverage to leukemia patients, according to a leading Republican congresswoman.

In an interview with ThinkProgress, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) argued that, contra Obamacare’s new protections, insurance companies should not be prevented by federal law from denying insurance to people with pre-existing conditions, including those with leukemia. “What you don’t have to do is federalize everything,” Blackburn, one of the GOP leaders in the health care fight, explained. She preferred state-run high-risk pools instead, but refused to entertain the idea that it should be illegal for insurance companies to deny care for those with pre-existing conditions.

KEYES: Should that be a federal law that insurance companies can’t deny insurance to, say, leukemia patients?

BLACKBURN: Republicans have for years worked on how to handle pre-existing conditions. Some of the states have state-run high-risk pools and those have been very successful. [...]

KEYES: So you’re saying a state thing rather than a federal law?

BLACKBURN: Yeah. And when you look at the way some of these risk pools have been handled, they’ve been handled at the state level, some at the local level, but I think that you’ve got some models there for doing it. Not every good idea originates in Washington DC. [...] There’s a different way to handle it.

KEYES: Rather than a one-size-fits-all law?

BLACKBURN: Handling pre-existing conditions, having something to handle that, was a Republican idea. What you don’t have to do is federalize everything. That’s what Democrats want to do. They want to bring it all into Washington D.C.

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Blackburn isn’t the only one expressing this view. In June, Indiana Senate nominee Richard Mourdock (R) declared that businesses should be allowed to deny health insurance to cancer patients if they wanted. In an interview with ThinkProgress later that month, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) echoed the same belief, arguing that employers should be permitted to deny insurance to cancer patients because “our nation was based on freedom.” In fact, 239 Republicans (and five Democrats) voted again last month to repeal the landmark health reform law that will make it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

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