Contrary to the what President Obama told crowd after crowd, the Affordable Care Act does not immediately mandate that insurers offer coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. It only says any coverage that is offered to children cannot include exclusions for the treatment of such conditions.
HHS Secretary Sebelius says she will issue regulations clarifying that the law guarantees access to coverage. But again, it is far from clear that the law does any such thing, and federal regulations have no force if they go beyond or against that law (sort of like executive orders!).
Insurers aren’t going to let the feds have a “gimme” on an unclear provision that will raise their costs, and that has Congressional Democrats “furious,” according to the New York Times:
“The concept that insurance companies would even seek to deny children coverage exemplifies why we fought for this reform,” said Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California and chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia and chairman of the Senate commerce committee, said: “The ink has not yet dried on the health care reform bill, and already some deplorable health insurance companies are trying to duck away from covering children with pre-existing conditions. This is outrageous.”
But insurers aren’t “ducking” anything. They are bound to obey the law in question and the law here is poorly written and unclear at best, non-existent at worst. That’s the Democrats’ problem, not insurance companies’.
Pass the bill to find out what’s in it.