WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney's plan to help people with pre-existing medical conditions: hang on to your health insurance if you want to be protected.
The GOP presidential candidate wants to help those who maintain continuous coverage, a fraction of a much bigger group of people at risk of getting turned down because of medical problems.
Here's the catch: If you had a significant break in coverage, an insurer still could delve into your health care record, looking for anything _ from a bad back to high blood pressure _ that foreshadows future claims. They'd be able to turn you down.
That's a contrast to President Barack Obama's health care law, which guarantees that people in poor health can get comprehensive coverage at the same rates everybody else pays, and provides government subsidies to help low- to middle-income households pay premiums.
Starting Jan. 1, 2014, an insurer “may not impose any pre-existing condition exclusion,” the law says.
Romney is stressing his pre-existing conditions plan as he works to soften his public image in the homestretch of a campaign that has tightened since his strong debate performance versus Obama.
“I do have a plan that deals with people with pre-existing conditions,” he said during last week's debate.
The Romney campaign has not spelled out details other than it would help those who have maintained continuous coverage. That would entail incremental changes to insurance laws and regulations, and may or may not whittle down the number of uninsured, 49 million nationally.