Mike Allen's Politico Playbook reports, without further comment: "At 6 a.m., HHS posted a report finding that anywhere from 50 to 129 million (19 to 50 percent of) Americans under age 65 have some type of preexisting condition and would be at risk if the Affordable Care Act were repealed."
The full HHS report is here.
The 129 million number is absurdly inflated. There weren't anywhere near 129 million people without health insurance before ObamaCare passed. The claim that since the law passed tens of millions of people have suddenly developed conditions that make them uninsurable suggests that, if anything, the law has been bad for the health of Americans.
The HHS report tries to explain the number as follows: "As many as 82 million Americans with employer-based coverage have a pre-existing condition, ranging from life-threatening illnesses like cancer to chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma, or heart disease. Without the Affordable Care Act, such conditions limit the ability to obtain affordable health insurance if they become self-employed, take a job with a company that does not offer coverage, or experience a change in life circumstance, such as divorce, retirement, or moving to a different state.....And 15 to 30 percent of people in perfectly good health today are likely to develop a pre-existing condition over the next eight years, severely limiting their choices without the protections of the Affordable Care Act."
But these 82 million Americans with employer-based coverage won't all be out of luck if they switch jobs. Some of them may get health insurance though their spouses. Some of them may get coverage through Cobra, the law that allows people to pay their former employers for insurance. Some of them may be eligible for Medicaid. Some of them may live in states that offer insurance to high-risk individuals, or in states, such as New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine, that have "guaranteed issue" laws requiring insurers to offer insurance to everyone.
More broadly, this claim that 50% of non-elderly Americans are suffering from either "life-threatening illnesses" or "chronic conditions" has the potential to cause Americans to think of themselves as sickly potential victims rather than as healthy people. I understand the politics of it; President Obama wants all of those 129 million Americans to support the ObamaCare law and feel like it protects them, rather than feeling like it is just going to help a much smaller number of uninsured people. But it's one thing to try to expand the political constituency for a government program, it's another thing to do so by defining half of the non-elderly American population as sick to the point of being uninsurable.