Are you an adult with pre-existing conditions? The White House & Dems are preparing to screw you.

By pams
Sunday, January 24, 2010 6:58 EDT
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No final decisions have been made, but the White House is floating a nastygram balloon for all of us out there who have pre-existing conditions and know how health insurance companies have gotten away with murder denying people coverage. And this was one of the primary reasons reform is needed in the system.

It was one of the promises Barack Obama made to Americans when he was on the campaign trail. And it’s a common sense reform at that, particularly since some companies, so greedy to protect every last dime in their coffers, have gone so far as to make being a battered wife and the state of being pregnant pre-existing conditions. Everyone knows a horror story about this.

Yet here we are, with a watered-down bill that already does little and in a state of panic to pass something, ANYTHING, the Democrats are turning on the big bus, revving the engine, and Pelosi, Reid and the President are fighting to floor it and run over all the people with diabetes, MS, AIDS, and any other chronic, expensive illnesses who have been waiting for…what was that word? Oh, that’s right — CHANGE. It’s been pared down to cover pre-existing conditions only for children under the age of 19.

From the NYT:

Representative Gerald E. Connolly, Democrat of Virginia, said the 2,000-page House bill might have been “too much, too ambitious for an anxious public.”

But Mr. Connolly said, “Doing nothing is not a good option.”

Lawmakers, Congressional aides and health policy experts said the package might plausibly include these elements:

  • Insurers could not deny coverage to children under the age of 19 on account of pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Insurers would have to offer policyholders an opportunity to continue coverage for children through age 25 or 26.
  • The federal government would offer financial incentives to states to expand Medicaid to cover childless adults and parents.
  • The federal government would offer grants to states to establish regulated markets known as insurance exchanges, where consumers and small businesses could buy coverage.
  • The federal government would offer tax credits to small businesses to help them defray the cost of providing health benefits to workers.
  • If a health plan provided care through a network of doctors and hospitals, it could not charge patients more for going outside the network in an emergency. Co-payments for emergency care would have to be the same, regardless of whether a hospital was in the insurer’s network of preferred providers.

The package could also include changes in Medicare, to reduce the growth in payments to doctors and hospitals while rewarding providers of high-quality, lower-cost care. To help older Americans, it could narrow a gap in Medicare coverage of prescription drugs, sometimes known as a doughnut hole.

Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law and policy at George Washington University, said the proposals were “totally doable” and could help perhaps 15 million people.

WTF? 15 million? How many people are there in the U.S who are uninsured or under-insured? According to CNN, 86.7 million Americans were uninsured over last two years, and an additional 25 million have insurance, reports CBS, but not enough to protect them from potential financial ruin by a health crisis.

I fail to understand why there is a lack of support, other than being bought off by the insurance companies, for barring denial of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. The fact is that for those who cannot receive their medications to treat chronic health issues, will end up getting care in the ER, where it is most expensive, or, they’ll simply die. I suppose that’s one way to keep costs low — the GOP way.

Something like this is not better than nothing. These concessions will only delay political action on the necessary reforms that will be tossed onto the shoulder of the road. And after this last SCOTUS ruling on corporate “free speech” re: ads, expect are already hogs-at-the-trough pols to be oinking away as more $$$lop goes into political races, with going back to do additional reform placed permanently on the back burner.

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