Under the American Health Care Act, which Republicans passed in the House on Thursday, "no matter what, you cannot be denied coverage if you have a pre-existing condition," House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Sunday in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos.
The host pushed back, arguing that insurance companies can charge people higher rates for pre-existing conditions even if they can't deny coverage. "You can't charge people more if they keep continuous coverage," Ryan replied, making a comparison to "waiting until your house is on fire to then buy your homeowner's insurance. You want to make sure that people stay covered to keep the cost down."
Rules pertaining to pre-existing conditions have been a major point of critique for the House version of the AHCA, which may yet be substantially altered by the Senate. But, as The Washington Post explained in a fact-check piece Saturday, Ryan is correct: The AHCA allows states to seek a waiver so that a person who lives in one of those states who "has a lapse in health coverage for longer than 63 days; has a pre-existing condition; and purchases insurance on the individual or small-group market" can "face insurance rates that could be based on their individual condition, for one year." After that year, rates would once again be based on a community assessment, and states that avail themselves of the waiver must also offer a high-risk insurance pool to alleviate the financial burden.
Watch two excerpts of Ryan's comments below, or read the full transcript of his interview here. Bonnie Kristian