Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear is throwing his support behind a bill that would bar insurance companies from denying coverage to people with preexisting health conditions.
The announcement comes a day after the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, which includes a requirement that insurance carriers provide coverage for those with preexisting conditions.
Calling it an issue of “life and death,” Beshear said that insurers shouldn’t have the option to deny coverage to anyone.
“If you truly support mandatory coverage for preexisting conditions, then you support this bill. There are no other add-ons in it. There are no reasons to be against it. You are either for mandatory coverage for preexisting conditions, or you are against it,” Beshear said.
Beshear said there are about 1.8 million Kentuckians with preexisting health conditions.
The U.S. Supreme Court indicated on Monday that it would hear an appeal of Texas vs. United States, a lawsuit filed by several Republican attorneys general and two governors challenging the Affordable Care Act.
They argue that after Congress eliminated the Affordable Care Act’s tax penalty for those who don’t sign up for health insurance, that the entire law was unconstitutional.
Amanda Perkins is a Lexington attorney who has type 1 diabetes. She says she has fear and anxiety about the law’s fate.
“Even though my care is by no means cheap, I’m just thankful now to have an opportunity to afford it,” Perkins said. “Every election year I’m on pins and needles as to the fate of the ACA.”
House Bill 21 is sponsored by Bowling Green Democratic Rep. Patti Minter and has 38 co-sponsors, only two of whom are Republicans.
The bill is a longshot in Kentucky’s Republican-led legislature and has lingered in the House Banking and Insurance Committee since it was filed on the first day of this year’s legislative session.
Minter called on the committee’s chair to give the bill a hearing.
“It’s unconscionable to think we would even consider exposing all the people in the commonwealth—the one in two people in this commonwealth who need this coverage. They’re counting on our lawmakers to make sure they have the health care that we all deserve,” Minter said.
Today is the 40th working day of Kentucky’s 60 day legislative session, which ends on April 15th.