Gaps in Health Care Protection for Children

When will children with pre-existing conditions be covered with the new health care reform legislation?

The Associated Press reported March 23, “The Obama administration is scrambling to fix a potential problem with a much-touted benefit of its new health care law, a gap in coverage improvements for children in poor health, officials said Tuesday.” 

This is a big concern for many Americans including myself because I have a four year old son who was first hospitalized with respiratory syncytial virus (commonly known as RSV) and Bronchiolitis at five months old.  Since then he has had pneumonia and several other respiratory problems a few times a year.  This history of respiratory problems could be considered a pre-existing condition and if we choose to switch insurances, I worried a new insurance company could refuse him coverage. 

President Obama has talked about how the new protections for children in this bill at nearly every speech advocating its passage.  This was one of the things in the health care bill I supported whole-heartedly. 

When as spokesperson for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee said full protection for children would not come until 2014, I felt misled and angry.  Why is the legislation so complex that even the President can’t understand it fully? Or did Obama knowingly mislead the American public? 

On Friday March 19, Obama spoke to an audience at George Mason University in a campaign-like speech and said, “This is a patient’s bill of rights on steroids.  Starting this year, thousands of uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions will be able to purchase health insurance, some for the first time.  Starting this year, insurance companies will be banned forever from denying coverage–this year.” The crowd cheered and I was also pleased. 

Obama didn’t sound a bit confused then.  How could he have been wrong about something so important?

The administration assured reporters on March 22 that Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius would resolve the situation by issuing yet more regulations.  HHS spokesman Nick Papas said, “To ensure that there is no ambiguity on this point, the secretary of HHS is preparing to issue regulations next month making it clear that the term ‘pre-existing’ exclusion applies to both a child’s access to a plan and his or her benefits once he or she is in the plan for all plans newly sold in this country six months from today.” 

I don’t feel assured and I’m left with more questions.  Why isn’t legislation more transparent?  Is it written to intentionally mislead and confuse Americans?  Critical thinkers must demand more of our elected officials.

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4 thoughts on “Gaps in Health Care Protection for Children

  1. Protecting those with pre-existing conditions was the one thing virtually everyone could agree on, and I’m deeply disappointed because it does appear that the protection for children will not begin until 2014, if at all. According to the article you cited it really looks like there is no protection for kids.

  2. Janet-

    Way to hit it out of the park.

    I lobbed a softball into your readers with my last comment by equating health care reform
    to nationalized medicine. It is nothig of the sort. It wrongfully mandates the purchase of health care insurance policies by every American that does not already have one or pay a fine. Mant will simply pay this new tax. The poor and illegal aliens were already covered by Medicaid. So, what actually is the point? The only caveat that made this bill palatable was the elimination of pre-existing conditions. Now we learn it does not. Is anyone out there truly surprised?

    Medical care under this new law will not be “free” as we were lead to believe. All of our premiums will increase due to this new legislation, and for numerous actuarial reasons. So, who actually benefits? Millions of Americans will cry foul when they realize these truthes.
    Let’s observe how long it takes this learning curve-ball to cross their plate.

    Biden was correct, “This is a big _ _ cking deal.”

    • William, thank you for reading and for sharing your thoughts! I am so disappointed by all the misleading information on the coverage of pre-exisiting conditions that I am actually shocked. I shouldn’t be, however. I just don’t understand why this wasn’t more clear and why it would take until 2014 to take effect.

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