Oops: Dems Forgot to Cover Preexisting Conditions for Children

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Posted: Mar 24, 2010 2:44 PM
Not that we needed proof Democrat members of Congress didn't bother reading the health care overhaul they passed and signed into law this week, but this might be proof positive.  Either that, or they are all liars.  Take your pick. 

The Associated Press is reporting that the new Obamacare law doesn't provide complete coverage for kids with preexisting conditions--one of the focal pieces of Obama's PR campaign about the legislation:

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.

However, if a child is accepted for coverage, or is already covered, the insurer cannot exclude payment for treating a particular illness, as sometimes happens now. For example, if a child has asthma, the insurance company cannot write a policy that excludes that condition from coverage. The new safeguard will be in place later this year.

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.

Last Friday during his remarks at George Mason University, Obama said: "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."

And Saturday during his address to the House Democratic Caucus, Obama repeated the claim, saying: "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."

To fix the loophole, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius plans to just issue more regulations to clarify the White House's "interpretation" of the legislation.