Gov. Edwards Resists Attorney General Landry’s Decision on PreExisting Health Coverage Issues

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In September the Governor issued a statement, “Attorney General’s Lawsuit threatens health coverage for 849,000 Louisianans with pre-existing conditions.”

The Governor commented that Attorney General Jeff Landry’s unilateral decision to enter the state of Louisiana into a lawsuit that eliminates health care protections for people with pre-existing conditions would deny people coverage.

On September 10, the attorney general appeared on CNN to discuss his effort. During the interview, said the statement, Landry made clear that prior to joining the lawsuit, he did not have a plan in place to ensure insurance companies do not deny coverage for the 849,000 people in Louisiana who could lose health care because they have a pre-existing condition.

“In Louisiana, 849,000 people have a preexisting condition that could lead to an insurance company denying them healthcare if Attorney General Jeff Landry is successful in his latest lawsuit,” said the Governor.

“It’s deeply disturbing that he has committed the state to this effort without consulting anyone and even worse, without having a plan in place to ensure these individuals do not lose their health care. Entering into this lawsuit should not be an impulse decision. It requires thoughtful consideration of the repercussions to the people of Louisiana. After seeing the attorney general’s interview on CNN this morning, it’s clear he did not think this through. Everyone acknowledges the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has flaws, and we should be working together to fix what’s broken. Protecting coverage for people with pre-existing conditions is one area where there is broad, bipartisan support. If successful, this lawsuit would cause chaos within the health care system, and the people of Louisiana would be left to pick up the pieces.”

The attorney general appeared on CNN to discuss the lawsuit. Pressed by a reporter about his plans for the 849,000 people in Louisiana who would lose health care if the court strikes down the pre-existing condition provision, he had no answer, indicating the attorney general had not spoken to anyone for a “Plan B” prior to filing the lawsuit. The interview is available here.

The press release also offered background, including the following:

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, approximately 849,000 in Louisiana have a pre-existing condition that could allow an insurance company to deny them health coverage.

A poll conducted by the UNO Survey Research Center in 2014 found that 76 percent of the people of Louisiana supported “requiring health insurance companies to cover anyone, even if they have a pre-existing medical condition.”

NOLA.com|Times Picayune: “The crux of Paxton’s and Landry’s argument is that Congress has repealed the “individual mandate” that required people to carry health insurance or pay a tax penalty, which means that the whole law should be declared unconstitutional. Paxton and Landry argue that the mandate for health insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions cannot work if the individual mandate to carry health insurance will no longer be in place in 2019.

“…But even if he doesn’t succeed at getting Obamacare thrown out, Paxton has asked the court to still strike down the requirement for insurance companies to cover pre-existing medical conditions in the 20 states participating in the lawsuit, including Louisiana.

“…The Texas Attorney General’s office argued both in written briefs and court Wednesday that states — not the federal government — should get to decide whether health insurance companies are
forced to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions.” [NOLA.com|Times Picayune, 9/7/2018]

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