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.
Obama's public statements have conveyed the impression that the new protections for kids were more sweeping and straightforward.
"This is a patient's bill of rights on steroids," the president said Friday at George Mason University in Virginia. "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, addressing House Democrats as they approached a make-or-break vote on the bill, Obama said, "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."
After all the months of drafting the monstrosity of a bill, Democrats managed to spend so much time debating procedure and wheeling and dealing for votes, they ignored the children and Obama lied straight up about it.
Now the White House is scrambling to close the loophole that Congress, the Senate and the White House itself should have found, known about and fixed before it was voted on and signed into law as is.
Incompetence at work and shown publicly by the AP.