ATTACKING YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE: Attorney General Leslie Rutledge Brian Chilson

Federal court arguments begin today in Texas on a lawsuit aiming to kill the Affordable Care Act and with it required coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, parental coverage of older children and other health-positive requirements of the law, not to mention expanded Medicaid. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is among those attempting to kill the law. That would mean loss health insurance for hundreds of thousands of Arkansans.

The ACA, or Obamacare, is now popular. A majority of Democrats and Republicans want to keep it in place, polls show. But Republicans like Rutledge( and all of Arkansas’s congressional delegation)  will not be denied. CNBC reports on recent polling:

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Although the lawsuit was brought by 20 Republican state attorneys general, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 75 percent of Americans don’t want those protections reversed. Some 58 percent of Republicans and 86 percent of Democrats want the provision guarding pre-existing conditions to remain intact, according to the poll of more than 1,200 adults from Aug. 23 through Aug. 28.

“Four in 10 Americans (41%) say they are ‘very worried’ that they or a family member will lose coverage if the Supreme Court overturns the ACA’s pre-existing condition protections,” Kaiser said in releasing the poll. “In addition, half (52%) are ‘very worried’ they or a family member will have to pay more for coverage.”

Some 72 percent of those polled are also in favor of keeping provisions that prohibit insurers from charging sick people more, which is also being challenged in the lawsuit.

Two-thirds of respondents said they are worried about paying for unexpected medical bills. That worry topped other sources of anxiety related to health care, including deductibles, drug costs and insurance premiums. Unexpected medical bills also worried respondents more than paying for housing, transportation or monthly utility bills.

Thirty-nine percent of insured adults who are between 18 and 64 years old said they have received an unexpected medical bill in the past year, according to the survey. Half of those who received an unexpected medical bill said it was less than $500 while 13 percent said their surprise bill was more than $2,000.

Dishonest Republicans (think Rep. French Hill) will tell you they want to continue coverage of previously sick people. It can’t be done without spreading the risk over more people or without ruinous rates.

UPDATE: Congressional candidates are attempting to score points with Rutledge’s attack on health coverage.

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2nd District Democrat Clarke Tucker:

As a lawsuit aimed at undermining key aspects of the Affordable Care Act goes to court today, Clarke Tucker, Democratic candidate for Arkansas’s 2nd Congressional District, released a new television ad focused on health care. The 30-second ad covers Tucker’s personal bout with cancer, his accomplishments fighting for affordable health care in the Arkansas State Legislature, and a promise to continue fighting to protect health care for Americans — especially those with pre-existing conditions — in the U.S. Congress.

“In life, health comes first, which is why every American deserves access to quality, affordable care, including those with pre-existing conditions,” Tucker said. “Last year, Congressman Hill voted for a bill that would have made care all but impossible for people, like me, with pre-existing conditions and for hundreds of thousands of working Arkansans who have care through Arkansas’s innovative, bi-partisan Medicaid expansion program. The bill also would have devastated community hospitals here in Arkansas. Even worse, Congressman Hill stated recently that he has ‘no regrets’ about that vote. While the lawsuit is dangerous, it merely highlights an ongoing threat to people’s ability to have affordable health care in this country and in this state. We must elect a new member of Congress who will protect us, our families, and our communities, and that’s what our campaign is about.”

Third District Democrat Josh Mahony:

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“It’s infuriating to see elected officials fighting to take away Arkansans health care,” said Mahony. “If this lawsuit is successful, thousands of Arkansans would lose access to healthcare through no fault of their own. Congressman Steve Womack has voted countless times to repeal the ACA, which would cause countless Arkansans to lose health insurance because of a pre-existing condition. Arkansans deserve a Congressman who will fight to protect their health insurance and not allow insurers to discriminate based on past or present illnesses.”