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Oops: Health-Care Bill Does Not Cover Kids' Pre-Existing Conditions

10:40 AM, Mar 24, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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Obama, yesterday, touted the centerpiece of the health-care reforms that will go into effect this year. This is what he and Democrats are to run on for November. These are the advantages of the bill that are to bring about public opinion's swift and total 180:

"This year, tens of thousands of uninsured Americans with a preexisting condition and parents whose children have a preexisting condition will finally be able to purchase the coverage they need," he said.

Making sure kids who have pre-existing conditions are covered? Hard to argue with that. There's just one problem. In the writing of this bill that manipulates 1/6 of the American economy, the wise men and women of the United States Congress somehow overlooked making sure kids with pre-existing conditions were covered:

Hours after President Barack Obama signed historic health care legislation, a potential problem emerged. Administration officials are now scrambling to fix a gap in highly touted benefits for children.

Obama made better coverage for children a centerpiece of his health care remake, but it turns out the letter of the law provided a less-than-complete guarantee that kids with health problems would not be shut out of coverage.

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.

Full protection for kids will not come until 2014. Kathleen Sebelius, our new national health administrator, will try to fix the oversight with new regulations.

But nobody worry. Just because the legislative language doesn't cover one of the president's priorities, which he has included in every speech of the last week and after the bill's passage, doesn't mean that there will be unforeseen consequences therein for you and your family.

Other than that, this baby is totally air-tight. Trust them.

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