More than 25 patient and consumer groups are warning that Trump administration guidance about Affordable Care Act (ACA) the issued this week will decrease health care protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said the guidance will allow states to “move their insurance markets away from the one-size-fits-all rules and regulations imposed by the ACA and increase choice and competition within their insurance markets.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said; “Now, states will have a clearer sense of how they can take the lead on making available more insurance options, within the bounds of the Affordable Care Act, that are fiscally sustainable, private sector-driven, and consumer-friendly.” 

However, a statement issued by The American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and nearly two dozen health organizations warned of decreased coverage and the possibility of patients denied coverage altogether.

In a statement issued collectively, the groups said:

“Issued under the guise of “state flexibility, the guidance allows states to approve the sale of cheap, inadequate health insurance plans that can eliminate coverage of pre-existing conditions, charge premiums based on health status, or reject patients altogether. This guidance also greenlights changes that are likely to make it harder for patients and consumers to distinguish between comprehensive coverage and products that do not cover prescription medications, maternity care, or other critical services. Further, states will also be able to use taxpayer dollars to subsidize the purchase of these substandard insurance plans. 

“This dangerous action could take us back to the days when people with pre-existing conditions were openly discriminated against and blatantly denied access to lifesaving care.  

“Our organizations advocate for everyone with pre-existing conditions to have access to healthcare that is affordable, adequate, and accessible. We are deeply disappointed that this guidance undermines protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and we urge the Administration to withdraw it immediately.” 

Adult Congenital Heart Association 
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Diabetes Association 
American Heart Association 
American Liver Foundation 
American Lung Association 
Arthritis Foundation 
COPD Foundation 
Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation 
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation 
Epilepsy Foundation 
Global Healthy Living Foundation 
Hemophilia Federation of America
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society 
Lutheran Services in America 
March of Dimes 
Mended Little Hearts 
Muscular Dystrophy Association 
National Alliance on Mental Illness 
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship 
National Health Council
National Hemophilia Foundation 
National Organization for Rare Disorders
National Patient Advocate Foundation 
National Psoriasis Foundation 
Susan G. Komen 
United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. 
United Way Worldwide
WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease