Insurance Commissioner Lara submits testimony to US House of Representatives Committee on protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions
News: 2019 Press Release
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today as the U.S. House of Representative Committee on Ways and Means is holding hearings, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara provides testimony to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions:
“Passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was one of the most significant legislative acts in the last fifty years. The ACA has directly improved the health and economic security of millions of Californians—both those who were uninsured prior to the passage of the ACA and those whose individual or group health insurance coverage was improved.
California decided to go "all in" with regard to implementing the Affordable Care Act. Since its passage in 2010, we have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of Californians who lack health insurance coverage. The uninsured rate went from 17.2 percent in 2013 to a new historic low of 7.2 percent in 2017.
Before the passage of the ACA, people were routinely denied health insurance coverage due to pre‐existing conditions such as asthma, cancer, or heart disease. Others were sold coverage that excluded care for their pre‐existing conditions. After January 1, 2014 when the guarantee issue provision of the ACA went into effect, many individuals gained affordable, comprehensive coverage. The California Department of Insurance heard from numerous people with pre‐existing conditions who had previously been denied health insurance coverage and were grateful that they could now buy health insurance for the first time in years.
An estimated 5.9 million Californians have pre‐existing conditions, so the repeated efforts to repeal the ACA in 2017 and 2018 caused distress and concern for the millions of people with pre‐existing conditions and their families. During the time the Congress was considering repeal of the ACA, the Department and I heard from people who were very afraid that they would not be able to buy health insurance in the future and would not be able to get the medical care they need. In addition to the millions of Californians who already have pre‐existing conditions, any one of us may find ourselves with a pre‐existing condition in the future, and could find ourselves uninsurable in the future without the protections in the ACA. These protections are a promise we have made to the American people, one which we should never break. I will stand up against any attempts to weaken or dismantle the Affordable Care Act given what is at stake for Californians who rely upon its protections.”
California Insurance Commissioner
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.