When it comes to pre-existing health conditions, we cannot afford to go back in time. Before the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010, insurers could charge sick people impossibly high rates. If you had cancer, or diabetes, or even a Caesarean section, insurance companies labeled it a pre-existing condition and slapped you with an enormous insurance premium. Rates were so high many people I knew had to go without health insurance. They just couldn’t afford it.

Unfortunately, we are once again in this untenable situation. The American Health Care Act that the U.S. House of Representatives passed earlier this year gives the upper hand back to the insurance companies. This is especially punishing for people age 50-64 who often have chronic conditions. I hope our senators recognize that right now in the state of Maine there are 123,155 individuals between the ages of 50 and 64 who live with pre-existing conditions.

The U.S. Senate plans to work on this flawed bill in the coming weeks. I hope they agree that basing health insurance rates on an individual’s pre-existing condition is unacceptable. The AHCA will make health care unaffordable and inaccessible for more than 100,000 Mainers for this reason alone. In addition, the bill will discriminate against older adults by allowing insurance companies to charge them five times more what others pay for the same coverage just because of their age.

We cannot let this health care legislation pass. Please contact Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and urge them to reject this inhumane bill.

Dr. Erica Magnus

Windham