Half of Americans Have Pre-Existing Health Conditions

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Professor Jost said, "The administration is not arguing that 129 million Americans are ineligible for private health insurance because of their health. But many of these Americans are insured through their jobs, and would find health insurance to be very expensive or unavailable if they were to lose their employee coverage."

Five million Americans lost employer-sponsored health insurance between 2007 and 2009, according to the report. The percentage of small businesses that offer coverage dropped from 68 percent in 2001 to 59 percent in 2009, but rose in 2010; a trend the authors attribute, in part, to the Affordable Care Act's small business tax credits.

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News' "Good Morning America," former House speaker Newt Gingrich dismissed the report, calling it "left-wing propaganda."

"These are people who claim they can cut $500 billion out of Medicare and not affect either doctors, hospitals or senior citizens. Now, I mean, if you can believe that, you can believe anything they're saying," Gingrich said of the Department of Health and Human Services.

"The administration keeps touting these insurance market reforms, which are a small part of the new law, but seem to want people to ignore the hundreds of billions in wasteful spending and regulation that is attached to the bill," said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

"There were a lot of ways to address the gaps in coverage that make insurance unaffordable to some Americans, short of nationalizing the regulation and reimbursement of health coverage for most Americans, which is what this legislation does."

Scare Tactics?

Theodore Marmor, professor emeritus of public policy and management and political science at Yale School of Management, called the report "a perfect example of false specificity" that uses numbers as scare tactics when "there is every reason to restrict the use of pre-existing conditions as a bar to health insurance," regardless of the number of people who would be harmed.

"There are many conditions that might be used to bar insurance," he said, "which makes any estimate, at best, an exercise in counting, not thinking."

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