Preexisting conditions affect at least 50 million Americans

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 24, 2011

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Between 50 million and 129 million Americans have at least one preexisting health condition, according to an estimate released Jan. 18 by the Dept. of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.

HHS estimated that 50 million nonelderly people have a health condition -- such as cancer, cirrhosis of the liver or chronic pancreatitis -- that allows them to qualify for coverage in high-risk insurance pools created by HHS and the states last year. The 129 million projection includes people with other conditions that may lead to higher insurance premiums, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity.

HHS commissioned the report as a counterpoint to House Republicans' assertions that the health system reform law should be repealed because of its $1 trillion cost and its regulations. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the law will prohibit health insurers from denying coverage to anyone with a preexisting condition beginning in 2014. "Americans living with preexisting conditions are being freed from discrimination in order to get the health coverage they need."

GOP lawmakers claimed that the administration was exaggerating the numbers of people who have conditions that currently might disqualify them from coverage. The HHS report is available online (link).

Note: This item originally appeared at

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn