With the dust barely settled after a long health-care battle, insurers launched a counteroffensive. They argued that
they were not legally required
guarantee coverage for children with pre-existing conditions until 2014.
But President Obama insisted that the legislation immediately enforces
guaranteed coverage for children. At issue was not Democrats' intent,
which was clear, but the specific language of the new health care laws.
Insurers, under public pressure from the White House, have since conceded the point
to extend the coverage as required in the bill. But the skirmish could
foreshadow a contentious relationship between health insurers and the
government, which is attempting sweeping new regulations over the
- 'Weasel Words' and 'Undermining' The Boston
Globe's Derrick Jackson deplores
"weasel words from insurance industry officials" that he says are just
the beginning. "Thus, the undermining is already underway. On one hand,
the insurance industry purports to be a team player." But their actions
- Insurers Will Always Want to Deny Coverage
Liberal blogger Jay Ackroyd scoffs, "their business
model, necessarily, is finding ways to deny treatment. The firms that
can provide the least treatment will acquire the ones who provide more.
Or rather, have acquired them."
White House Proves It Can Pressure Insurers The Washington Post's Ezra Klein says insurers "have a lot to lose from a fight
with the administration." He says there are "plenty" of ways that
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius can "make the
insurance industry's life very, very difficult." Although the insurers
may have been legally right on this issue, their acquiescence proved the
White House retains influence.
- Bending Under Bad P.R.
The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen wonders whether the reversal was "the result
of stern administration warnings or fear of a p.r. nightmare."
Suggesting insurers realized this would be an "unhelpful fight," he
asks, "do insurers really want to fight to deny coverage to sick
- This Is Not Such a Big Victory Time's Kate Pickert sighs, "Although
insurers have promised to sell insurance policies to families with kids
with pre-existing conditions, there is nothing to stop the insurance
companies from charging whatever they want." So even if they cannot deny
sick children coverage, they can still set outrageous and unaffordable
rates until 2014, when more regulations kick in.
- The Other
Gaping Loophole Naked Capitalism's Yves Smith points it out:
"fraud and intentional mispresentation." In this situation, insurance
policy holders who have an error on their paperwork or who failed to
report something may have their coverage canceled. Insurers often do
this for policy holders who develop an expensive ailment, and Smith says
they will continue to do so.
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