Mitt Romney's health care plan: Pre-existing conditions
Mitt Romney says he'll "prevent discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage."
August 28th, 2012
10:30 AM ET

Mitt Romney's health care plan: Pre-existing conditions

The Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN Senior Medical News Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.

This week during the Republican convention I’ll be dissecting Mitt Romney’s health care plan, examining what it means to various groups of American patients.

Monday, we put preventive care under the microscope. Tuesday, we're looking at Romney's plan for helping people with pre-existing conditions - anything from back pain to cancer to diabetes - who have often been denied insurance  or asked to pay exorbitant premiums.

Obamacare requires insurance companies to sell policies to people with pre-existing conditions without charging a higher premium.

Romney has vowed he would act to repeal Obamacare on his first day as president. Instead, he says he would "prevent discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage," according to his website.

When asked by CNN how Romney defined "continuous coverage," his spokeswoman Andrea Saul did not answer.

In a May 2011 speech in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Romney spoke broadly about the concept.

“If you've been insured for 10 years, and you have a heart attack, and you've changed jobs, because of that continuous period of insurance, of course you will continue to be covered," he said. "If you've never had insurance, and you're age 55, and suddenly you have a heart attack, and now you want to buy insurance - you don't say to them: 'Oh, fine, you get it.' ... That doesn't work very well.”

For people with pre-existing conditions who do not yet have insurance, states would be able to pursue a number of different approaches, such as high-risk pools and insurance exchanges, according to Saul.

Video: Examining health care under Romney-Ryan

soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. usagainstyou

    Another weak solution from someone that will never be in that situation.

    August 28, 2012 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Boo

    More bull****...whatever...

    August 28, 2012 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SMMcMahon

      Very articulate. Hope you – or someone in your family – doesn't have a pre-existing condition.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:59 | Report abuse |
  3. Devon

    So essentially Romney's plan would be punishing someone for not previously having insurance? In most cases, those who do not have insurance either cannot afford it or do not receive coverage through employers or government assistance– aka the middle class.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • annon

      Or they couldn't get it before the Affordable Care Act (the proper name for the bill) because they had a pre-existing condition and were denied for years.

      August 28, 2012 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
  4. SMMcMahon

    Old people aren't foolish. Most of them aren't all that healthy, either.

    Everyone should realize that if Republicans repeal "Obamacare" and Romney/Ryan went ahead with the voucher system than about 90% of Medicare eligible folks would be totally SCREWED!

    Try going out at age 70 to buy yourself some health insurance with your stinking voucher. So you've got high blood pressure, prostate cancer, osteoporosis or heart disease. Sorry, that's a pre-existing condition which WOULD have been covered under Obamacare, but no longer. We're sorry, but your medications won't be covered, either. And be happy because you didn't have to go before any death panel to arrive at this sorry state.

    I think we have to live with a fact about the GOP. The party cannot ever tell people, even their supporters, at least the ones that aren't millionaires, what they will actually do if they have the chance. If they did, they would never elect another Republican to national office. They get away with it in some congressional districts – the ones gerrymandered to the point of idiocy. But, not with most Senate races and definitely not for President.

    Consequently the GOP must lie, obfuscate and demonize the opponent to elect a President. We get lies about them wanting to preserve Medicare. They can't tell the truth – they want to eliminate it, they always have. They can't tell the truth about lowering taxes for the wealthy – it's not about creating jobs, it's about taking care of their big donors. They can't tell the truth about global warming – they know it's happening, they don't care because any action to save the planet would hurt profits. They can't tell the truth about spending – they are not against spending, they just want to spend on the military and their corporate sponsors. The can't tell the truth about the size of government – they don't want a small government, they want a government so big it can police every womb.

    To elect a President, Republicans have to lie because no one in their right mind would buy what they are actually selling.

    And to the comment that their plan would only affect those under 55 (changed,as a "concession"), well, I'm under 55 (just) and after paying into the plan for the past 35 years, I object, and my parents are not that selfish to not object its effect on their children and grandchildren.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MTimmer

      Very well said. I love that you laid this out in clear and dispassionate language. It never ceases to amaze me that the Republican party somehow manages to secure the votes of middle class people like my in-laws, who worked at blue collar jobs all their lives. What, pray tell, do they think the Republican party is doing for them?

      August 28, 2012 at 22:59 | Report abuse |
  5. Eudyptes

    Well if that isn't the biggest pile of horse sh**

    August 28, 2012 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. myviewis

    What Obamacare means to voters is clearly stated in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act unders Summary of Funding which states that its provisions are intended to be funded by a variety of offsets, taxes and the major source of funding is Medicare. Our money, we pay from our paychecks, will be funding Medicare according to the Affordable Care Act which means that we lose our money in Medicare to cover all these free expenses in Obamacare. Why not just say Medicare is funding Obamacare????? it is written so in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. All this disecting of Romney's health care plan but time is not devoted to disecting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Why the trick??????????

    August 28, 2012 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Devon

      The ACA has been disected over and over again. ~60% of all health care costs are already funded by the government, the ACA is simply placing more funds into smarter programs. Our healthcare system is a "band-aid" system; we do not place emphasis on preventative care and wait until conditions worsen. The ACA directs more funds into preventative care in order to promote health and remove the need to treat and not prevent chronic diseases. I am more than happy to let my tax dollars pay to help prevent diabetes (which is very inexpensive) rather than pay for someone's insulin or surgeries required due to complications (VERY expensive).

      August 28, 2012 at 12:13 | Report abuse |
    • myviewis

      Devon, please elaborate where this money is coming from per your statement "health care costs are already funded by the government, the ACA is simply placing more funds into smarter programs". Are you referring to Medicare?????

      August 28, 2012 at 12:34 | Report abuse |
    • annon

      The supposed 'cuts to medicare' are simply savings. The government worked with the health care industry to agree to pay doctors less for services. There is no increase to cost or any loss of service that the patients get. Go to Google and search for PolitiFact Checking the facts on the $700 billion Medicare 'cut'. Whenever something seems this ridiculous, always do your own research through a fact checking website.

      August 28, 2012 at 15:41 | Report abuse |
  7. Ellen McCormick

    In the state of New Hampshire no one can be denied medigap insurance because of a pre-existing condition. It's the law. As it should be. Anthem denied me coverage even though I WAS eligible. An insurance agent finally set it straight for me.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. JJDynomite

    So let's just say Mitt Romney loses his job and his health insurance. We know his wife has a pre-exsiting condition. Should he be;
    1) Eligible to get the same health insurance at the same rate as everyone else in the country?
    2) Be unable to get heath insurance for his wife based on her pre-existing condition?
    3) Can not be denied health insurance, but based on his ability to pay, have a premium for his wife's pre-existing condition?

    August 28, 2012 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JC

      Not need insurance at all, since he will have no problem paying for any medical treatment she may need out of his $250 million in assets.

      August 28, 2012 at 14:21 | Report abuse |
    • annon

      Mitt already claims that he's unemployed. Or did you miss that one?

      August 28, 2012 at 16:03 | Report abuse |
  9. JC

    What Romney is proposing already exists. Currently, under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act of 1996), group health plans cannot deny medical coverage for preexisting conditions when the person can demonstrate he or she was covered previously under a health insurance policy. This generally covers people who are moving from one employer's health plan to a new employer's health plan. Romney's plan fails miserably in getting coverage for those who don't currently have it because they either can't afford it or they are uninsurable. He talks about high risk pools as a solution to cover the currently uninsurable, but these already exist in many states. High risk pools do cover those that can't obtain insurance otherwise, but high risk pools are optional, and for those states that have them, the waiting lists for acceptance are long. In other words, people die before they are accepted for coverage under a high risk pool. Typical Republican response to one of society's biggest concerns. You're on your own.

    August 28, 2012 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JJDynomite

      I didn't inlcude "No Insurance At all" because it's not an option 2 reasons. 1) The assumption in this case is they desired to have health insureance (this is important). 2) ACA would have IRS impose a penalty for not having health insurance.
      If you think #1 above is bogus . . . why can't people with little or no wealth make the same choices and decision as someone with $250 in assets? Only 1% er's can think and decide for themselves?

      August 28, 2012 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
    • JT1962

      In California, I tried to get insurance at one point. I'd been without for 3 years and was having some issues with my gallbladder at the time. I was, of course, denied for pre-existing conditions, one of which was my weight. When I applied for the high risk pool that CA has, I got a letter saying I was approved but was placed on their waiting list, as they had no more open slots. My time on list was estimated as 3.8 years. The cost was 4 times as much as regular insurance. I finally got covered thru an employer, had the gallbladder removed, only to be told my insurance didn't start until 2 weeks AFTER my surgery. That hospital bill sat on my credit record because I had no way to pay it. The job ended 3 months after surgery and it hadn't been long enough to get unemployment.

      August 30, 2012 at 21:13 | Report abuse |
  10. Retiree

    The Affordable Care Act says that if you have health insurance for at least 18 months without a break of more than 61 days, your new insurer cannot use pre-existing conditions against you.
    They must pay for your bills. If you do not know this they will not pay because they are a bunch of crooks. You have to appeal any denial of payment to your state corporation or consumer group. Blue Cross/Blue Shield discloses this information to you when you terminate their coverage.
    The Affordable Care Act also has a provision which which is called medical loss ratio. Health insurers have to spend a certain amount on healthcare or provide a reimbursement. It is the 80/20 rule. As I have been able to understand it, they cannot spend more than 20% on administration and the balance must be spent on actual healthcare.
    This provision is a joke! I paid over $4700 in premiums for 9 months. I paid an additional $1400 in health care costs that they would not pay. They paid a total of $310. on my behalf during the period. I received a rebate check for $13.59. This is outrageous. This provision is not worth the paper it is written on. HHS is useless to permit this to happen.

    August 28, 2012 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • annon

      It's just like Aetna states that they cover 20 chiropractor visits a year at 80% once I meet my deductible of $350...yet they count the visits that I pay at 100% of the cost until I meet my deductible as part of the 20 visits per year they cover. How does that make any sense?

      August 28, 2012 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
  11. phil from florida

    It's just more double talk from the master of double talk. Before moving to florida, Ilived in MA. for 10 years and my friends there that have the Romney version of health care have never been happier. The same plan that Obama has signed on to,is the plan that Romney passed and shook hands with Ted Kennedy, when he signed it! The only thing he accomplished as the governor of Ma. and he cannot talk about it due to the right wing, do nothing republican congress and the republican agenda. Please will someone on CNN press this man on the issues instead of tossing him softballs, and running tear jerking stories of his youth and the personal medical issues of his wife. His youth was painted in your interview as being a prankster. I wonder how much of a prankster his assault victum thought he was, as he was held down, and had his head shaved, back in high school, but I guess when your father is the governor of Michigan and donates big bucks to the school your just a prankster. This is the single most dangerous man to run for the president in my 57 years and it scares me to death,as it should al women, blue collar labor union members( one of his first acts as governor of Ma. was to try and repeal the davis/ bacon act, if you don't know what it is you should. just google it), all middle class members, and the poor. Please you need to vote. Dont just show up at the polls please call your board of elections and make sure you have what you need. Please don't be fooled by what your about to hear for the next few days. He is not what you will be hearing he is!!!!

    August 28, 2012 at 16:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Timmy Suckle

    I kissed my way up to VP at a health insurance company. Now I take over $500,000 of your health care dollars for NO VALUE ADDED to your health care. And that’s just me. Now think about how many other VPs, Directors, Managers, etc. are at my company alone. Now multiply that by thousands of others at hundreds of other health insurance companies. From 10 to 25% of your health care dollars go towards administration that adds NO VALUE to your health care. But my company’s PAC dollars will continue to fool you little people into thinking that a single payer system will be bad. Little people like you are so easy to fool. Little people also don’t realize that a single payer system is the ONLY system that would allow little people (as an entire country) to negotiate better health care prices. Little people don’t realize that the Medical Cartels already know that. And that is the reason why the Medical Cartels spend so much PAC money from the hospitals and doctors lobbying against a single payer system. Some little people say that a single payer system would cost you little people more. But if that were true, then wouldn’t the hospitals and doctors WANT that extra money? Yes they would. So why do the Medical Cartels lobby against a single payer system? It’s because the Medical Cartels know it would allow little people to negotiate better health care prices. And that’s what the Medical Cartels are afraid of. Period.
    But us big wigs at insurance companies, hospitals, and pharmacy companies don’t ever need to worry about health care no matter what it costs. We get our health care paid for one way or another by you little people. And we get the little people that work at our companies to contribute to our PACs. And us big wigs say it’s to protect the little peoples’ jobs. But in reality it would be in the little peoples’ best interest to NOT contribute to the PAC. Again, little people are so easy to be fooled. I won’t ever have to worry about losing my job with so many little people being brain washed by the Medical Cartels’ PAC money. Not only that, the Medical Cartels’ PAC money is used to elect so many republicans that will never allow a single payer system. Republicans have always fought against any meaningful health care reform. But that’s what our Medical Cartels’ PACs pay them for. Politicians can be bought so easily.
    Pretty soon the only people that will be able to afford health care is us big wigs. And that’s the way it should be. We don’t want you little people using up the resources when we need them. And once again, I thank you little people for capping my SS tax at the $106,800 level. Now I only pay 1.3% SS tax and you little people pay 6.2%. Also, thank you for extending my tax breaks. I’m using the extra money on my vacation houses.

    August 29, 2012 at 14:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. TheTruthHurts

    84% of Americans have health insurance

    August 30, 2012 at 08:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hahahahahahahaha

      So 16% without health insurance is good enough then right? How many millions is that? That's the GOP way! Let them die!! Hahahahahahahahaha

      August 30, 2012 at 09:14 | Report abuse |
    • akmac65

      Therefore 16% do not. 16% of 300,000,000 people is still a large number. The costs of their care or loss of productivity due to illness impacts the whole country.

      August 30, 2012 at 11:00 | Report abuse |
  14. akmac65

    Talk about weasel wording. Basically, Romney is saying that if you are insured, you can stay insured, but if you are not, tough. The Republicans appear to blame the sick for being sick and use worst-case scenarios to justify screwing as many people as possible.

    August 30, 2012 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. xshorty87x

    I've had asthma since I was a baby. I got kicked of my mothers insurance at the age of 18 since I moved to San Diego for college. That was per a rule in her insurance policy. For the past 7 years, I have applied to every health insurance provider known to man. With help from people who do this for a living. Blue Cross Blue Shield has been the only provider to accept me. For $800 a month. And they don't even cover specialist like my allergy and asthma doctor. Which would still be a out of pocket charge for me. That premium is more than my rent and car payment combined. I was on a plan with an employer for one year until my premium was raised by $115 a paycheck (twice a month) and ultimately kicked off my plan. Because "I cost the company too much money." Even with my government employer, I am still denied coverage on their plans. I am willing to pay $350 a month for insurance, but no one will take me. My mother was kicked off her plan 3 years ago after a cancer diagnoses. The American Cancer Society stepped in t help her. I do not want a handout. I do not want others to pay for my medical coverage. I'm holding out money that no one will take. I'm a educated student and a tax paying american and you have no idea the stress and pain I have to go through without health insurance. I have to purchase my medication in Mexico because without insurance, it cost me $300 here. Anyone against the affordable health care act should not consider themselves American or even human. You are denying your fellow Americans the very right to live healthy. You already pay for convicted criminals to get free healthcare and for drug and alcohol treatment for others. But you complain about something that allows law abiding individuals the chance to PAY for healthcare. This is why other countries with universal healthcare are lightyears ahead of us. You are human and you will get sick.

    September 2, 2012 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Jeremy Gardner

    Despite some oppositions, still many American patients will benefit in the Mitt Romney's health care plan. They might be seeing the other way around but if we will study his plan, just like the nha or nursing home administrator who aims to ensure that proper health care will be given to patients, we might actually see that Romney's plan is only aiming to help especially the people with pre-existing conditions.

    October 5, 2012 at 21:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Guy

      I doubt it Romney is a lier

      November 1, 2012 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
  17. Guy

    How could Romney and the GOP do this to millions of good people that want to pay for insurance but get denied to a pre-existing condition. I pray he does not get elected.

    November 1, 2012 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
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  19. Lona Pelletiu

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.