The American Health Care Act, the Republican repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, passed in the House on Thursday, but not without a fight. Americans took to Twitter to express their opposition with the hashtag "I am a pre-existing condition," and continue to do so as the bill makes it way to the Senate. The hashtag, which was reportedly started by HuffPost Women, is in response to a new provision contained in last week's MacArthur Amendment, which would allow states to obtain waivers in order to grant insurance companies permission to charge higher premiums to patients with pre-existing conditions. Insurers still won't be able to deny coverage to such patients, but they could make the premiums unaffordable, which is effectively a denial.
On Monday, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks defended the waivers to CNN's Jake Tapper, arguing that healthy people who "lead good lives" should be rewarded for "keep[ing] their bodies healthy" by paying less. Perhaps Brooks meant to denigrate only smokers and people who eat too much fast food, but the fact is that insurance companies have very extensive lists of what they consider a pre-existing condition, and almost none of them can be blamed on the people with the condition. The hashtag put a face on the term, showing the world that good people can get sick, too, and they need and deserve affordable care.
Personally, I think every single Republican who voted for the AHCA should have to explain to that little boy's face why they think that his dad deserves to either go bankrupt or die, but hey, that's just me.
Good news: you won't be rejected anymore! Bad news: you'll have to pay five times as much as anyone else.
Yes, even such benign things as C-sections and acne can be considered pre-existing conditions, and while Alyssa Milano can probably afford a premium hike, the average American probably can't. Other eligible conditions, according to TIME, include obesity, heartburn, and, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation review of actual insurance company guidelines, "transsexualism."
Many have also made the case that the new plan essentially makes being a woman a pre-existing condition, because it would allow insurers to discriminate against patients with a whole slew of conditions that disproportionately affect women, like domestic assault, sexual assault, pregnancy, the aforementioned C-sections, depression, and anxiety.
Some people have also pointed out that for a very, very Christian Congress (all but two of the Republicans identify as such), they sure aren't following their religious teachings when it comes to this particular vote.
Say, fellas, didn't you get the memo? Your president is all about religious liberty! Maybe next time, do what the good book told you, and help out your fellow people. The "I am a pre-existing condition" tweets should be required reading for every senator before they take up their vote.