The new health care can exclude many

I attended one of the expert health care panels presented by the governor’s office last week. Of the many points raised, one particularly caught my attention. You see, I am the mother of an 11-year-old cancer survivor. In the parlance of insurance speak, that means my child has a “pre-existing condition.” Before the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), insurance companies could charge anyone with a pre-existing condition substantially more for their health insurance (either through increased monthly premium payments or high deductibles and co-payments), or they could simply just deny coverage. That changed under the ACA, because the law specifically prohibited insurance companies from discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition. Trumpcare is different. Under the House version — the one my Congresswoman Elise Stefanik voted “yes” to — insurance companies may discriminate and gather people with pre-existing conditions into “high-risk pools.” A high-risk pool defies the premise of insurance. Rather than accumulating large numbers of people with diverse health conditions into a group, high risk pools accumulate sick people only and require participants to pay huge premiums, deductibles and co-payments to offset the insurer’s costs. My 11-year-old qualifies for a high-risk pool, as do other children with chronic conditions such as diabetes, nut allergies, and asthma. But don’t expect Medicaid or Child Health Plus to step in. Trumpcare steals $8 billion from New York State’s Medicaid budget to alleviate the federal tax burden on millionaires. That money can’t be recouped through state taxes. Children will suffer and die. Please call your congressional representatives this week to tell them what you think about their priorities.

NICOLE CLARKE

Hagaman