ND lawmakers working on bill to cover pre-existing conditions if ACA overturned

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As the Affordable Care Act moves through federal courts, North Dakota lawmakers are already preparing to keep some of the parts they support.

The Interim Health Care Committee is working on a bill guaranteeing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Committee chairman George Keiser says the bill has bipartisan support and support from the insurance companies.

“If you have pre-existing conditions, there will be no change. You will have coverage whether you switch plans or if your current plan should rewrite some of the provisions,” said Keiser.

Keiser says regardless of what happens at the federal level, this bill is the right thing to do.

Sanford Health Plan President John Snyder said in a statement Friday: "Sanford Health Plan supports greater access to health care, which is possible when more people have health insurance coverage. As with any legislation, there are still some areas within the bill that need to be vetted in order to ensure the legislation doesn't cause unintended consequences."

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota spokesperson Andrea Dinneen said in a statement: “Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) believes everyone should have access to health care coverage, regardless of pre-existing conditions, as they do today. We are reviewing the proposed bill and will be working closely with the committee to provide our feedback, with a focus on what is in the best interest of our members.”

Medica spokesman Greg Bury said in a statement: If the Affordable Care Act is struck down by a federal court, it could have a profound impact on North Dakotans with any form of health insurance coverage, including Medicare and coverage through an employer. Medica supports a bill protecting North Dakotans with pre-existing conditions if it includes other market and consumer protections to stabilize health insurance costs as much as possible.