Submitted By Todd on March 24th at 11:38am
for children. But what if they didn't write the bill right?
Obama made better coverage for children a centerpiece of his health care remake, but it turns out the letter of the law provided a less-than-complete guarantee that kids with health problems would not be shut out of coverage.The trouble with 2700 page measures thrown together on the fly, using incomprehensibly complex language, is that no one really knows what the effects of the legislation will be.
Under the new law, insurance companies still would be able to refuse new coverage to children because of a pre-existing medical problem, said Karen Lightfoot, spokeswoman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the main congressional panels that wrote the bill Obama signed into law Tuesday.Ah, now they tell us.
Full protection for children would not come until 2014, said Kate Cyrul, a spokeswoman for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, another panel that authored the legislation. That's the same year when insurance companies could no longer deny coverage to any person on account of health problems.Wait - wasn't full protection for children one of the small list of things that the White House plans to be touting as they try to convince Americans, retroactively, that we shouldn't hate this law so much. Isn't the president particularly thrilled about this measure?
"This is a patient's bill of rights on steroids," the president said Friday at George Mason University in Virginia. "Starting this year, thousands of uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions will be able to purchase health insurance, some for the very first time. Starting this year, insurance companies will be banned forever from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions."I thought so.
And Saturday, addressing House Democrats as they approached a make-or-break vote on the bill, Obama said, "This year ... parents who are worried about getting coverage for their children with pre-existing conditions now are assured that insurance companies have to give them coverage -- this year."This year... or maybe not.
Late Tuesday, the administration said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius would try to resolve the situation by issuing new regulations. The Obama administration interprets the law to mean that kids can't be denied coverage, as the president has said repeatedly.It is the power to simply resolve situations by issuing new regulations to satisfy different interpretations of the law is the most scary part of 2700 page comprehensive measures. It is a circumvention of the democratic process.
"We're taking a closer look at it to see what exactly the requirement will be," said Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, the main industry lobby.Oh, great.