Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Sound Of Shoes Dropping

The argument given during the drafting of Health Care Reform was that by requiring all Americans to have health insurance, the insurance companies would be so grateful for the enormous increase in policies and premiums that they would of course be happy to stop denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. As crunch time for implementing that provision of the Health Care Act approaches, the health insurance industry is showing some not-so-good faith evidence of their gratitude.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Major health insurance companies in California and other states have decided to stop selling policies for children rather than comply with a new federal healthcare law that bars them from rejecting youngsters with preexisting medical conditions.

Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna Inc. and others will halt new child-only policies in California, Illinois, Florida, Connecticut and elsewhere as early as Thursday when provisions of the nation's new healthcare law take effect, including a requirement that insurers cover children under age 19 regardless of their health histories. ...

Insurers said they were acting because the new federal requirement could create huge and unexpected costs for covering children. They said the rule might prompt parents to buy policies only after their kids became sick, producing a glut of ill youngsters to insure. As a result, they said, many companies would flee the marketplace, leaving behind a handful to shoulder a huge financial burden.

The insurance companies won't deny coverage, they'll just stop issuing policies, which means the state and federal governments will be stuck with the costs of insuring those children under Medicaid plans. Those who don't qualify for Medicaid will just have to hope that they can find a high-risk pool/coop program in their area for such coverage.

Some gratitude, eh?

When the California state legislature got wind of the insurance companies' move, it acted swiftly:

In California, the stakes may be particularly high for insurers who abandon child-only policies. A bill awaiting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's signature would bar such companies from selling insurance in the lucrative individual market for five years. A Schwarzenegger spokeswoman said the governor had not yet taken a position on the measure.

The problem is that our lame duck governor probably will not sign the bill and will justify his veto on the loss of jobs involved or some such nonsense. After all, he has his insurance guaranteed for the rest of his life, courtesy of the California taxpayer, so what does he care?

Heckuva job, Barack.

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Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

by the same logic, I think, they could refuse to cover women of child-bearing age, nest paw?

1:07 PM  

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