Preexisting Conditions and the Missouri Senate Race

The Story: 

Claire McCaskill (D – Mo) is running for re-election to the US Senate this year. Federal health care policy is one of the central issues in her campaign against her Republican challenger, Josh Hawley, who is the state’s attorney-general.

The Background: 

McCaskill is an outspoken supporter of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. One of the most effective pro-Obamacare arguments with many voters is that the law, and the system it has created, allows people to obtain health insurance in a way that covers them for their pre-existing conditions; that is, illnesses from which they suffered before obtaining that insurance.

Hawley is one of 20 GOP officials in the state who are behind a lawsuit in federal court that would strike down the whole of Obamacare, including the pre-existing conditions clause, thus allowing insurance companies to refuse coverage to sufferers from such conditions.

Though the outcome of the campaign is unknown, McCaskill seems to be making effective use of this issue.

The Thing to Know:

The Kaiser Family Foundation, working from 2015 data on non-elderly Missouri adults and considering the pre-Obamacare state of the law, has calculated that if the law returns to the status quo ante there will be 1.1 million Missourians with declinable pre-existing conditions.


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