In Florence, South Carolina—a city that's established itself as a regional center for business, medicine and culture in the state—at least 1 in 3 residents has a pre-existing condition.
Just two hours south in the coastal town of Charleston, about 24% of residents have a pre-existing condition.
That picture shows the wide variability of pre-existing conditions and the potential impact that a loss of healthcare protections for people with pre-existing conditions could have on metropolitan regions around the U.S., according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.
The Kaiser map rated pre-existing conditions across 129 regions across the U.S. and found the prevalence of such conditions can vary substantially, even within the same state. The share of non-elderly adults with a pre-existing condition ranges from 20% in Rochester, Minnesota—home to the Mayo Clinic—to 41% in Kingsport, Tennessee.
Nationwide, Kaiser estimated, about 27% of non-elderly adults have a pre-existing condition that would have led to a denial of individual market insurance coverage prior to the Affordable Care Act.
Curious to see how your region stacks up? Here's Kaiser's map:
Of course, the ACA's protections of individuals with pre-existing conditions is being challenged in court.
Last week, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma vowed to lawmakers last week to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions even if legal challenges are successful.
Verma’s comments came as attorneys general in 20 states prepare their case to repeal the ACA entirely. A Texas judge has scheduled oral arguments to begin on Sept. 10. The Department of Justice has said it won’t defend the law in court.
Promising to be a top issue for voters as the midterm approaches, 10 Republican senators recently introduced a bill that they said would protect consumers with pre-existing conditions, even though critics have raised concerns that it would contain too many loopholes to be effective. Polls have shown most voters support protections in the Affordable Care Act that prohibit insurers from charging consumers more for pre-existing conditions.