Watch CBSN Live

GOP health care bill differs from Obamacare on pre-existing conditions

Pre-existing conditions
Pre-existing conditions 02:01

WALKER, La. -- Republicans haven taken their biggest step yet to make good on a vow to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed the House 217-213 Thursday, with one vote to spare. The Republican-sponsored plan covers pre-existing conditions, but not the way Obamacare does. 

Robin Parrott -- a mother of four from Walker, La. -- says she was troubled by Thursday's vote. 

"It's frightening," Parrott said. "I'm worried about what that impact will have on my family and the medical bills that we might incur." 

Collin, 3, suffers from a pre-existing condition that may not be covered under the Republican-sponsored American Health Care Act. CBS News

Her 3-year-old son, Collin, has a pre-existing, chronic condition called hydronephrosis that prevents his right kidney from draining properly due to a blockage. 

"Are we going to have my son's insurance cut?" Parrott asked. "Are they going to cover him? Will they cover enough of it? Because without what we had, we would still be in debt, and we would forever be in debt, I have a feeling."

More than two million Americans covered by Obamacare have pre-existing conditions.

The new House bill would allow states to file for a waiver from the requirement that guarantees their coverage. To qualify, states would have to set up so-called high-risk pools -- money that is used to pay for expensive premiums.

GOP health care vote 03:07

Back in Louisiana, officials have not signaled that they will seek a waiver. But $138 billion has been set aside in the GOP bill for all 50 states to help fund those high-risk pools. 

Larry Levitt, of the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation, says the bill "does not automatically eliminate coverage for people with pre-existing conditions." 

"What this bill would do is unleash debates in 50 state capitals around the country about whether people with pre-existing conditions should really be covered and protected," he said. 

The top 11 states with the highest percentage of people that have pre-existing conditions all voted for President Trump. In Louisiana, 30 percent of people under the age of 65 have a pre-existing condition.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.