The fine print differs from the larger political message. If a company sells insurance, it will have to cover pre-existing conditions for children covered by the policy. But it does not have to sell to somebody with a pre-existing condition. And the insurer could increase premiums to cover the additional cost.If they screwed up something that important, what else did they screw up? Or do you think they deliberately gave the insurance companies that loophole, in which case, the question is what other surprises are tucked away in the 1000s of pages of fine print?
ADDED: This suggests an answer to mystery — discussed yesterday — of why the insurance companies didn't barrage us with "Harry and Louise"-type ads this time. They lobbied behind the scenes and got the language they wanted in the bill. Who put that language in? Who wrote the statute? We know the members of Congress who voted for it probably didn't even read much of it. They went on assurances and assertions about what was in it. And there was that outrageous idea — said with a straight-face by Nancy Pelosi — that they had to pass the bill to find out what's in it.
Now, maybe the idea was to set up the insurance companies. They'd read the text and see they could do something and shock the people by saying no to the extremely sympathetic people who have sick children and who were so trusting and happy when they saw the bill pass.
Whether that was planned or not, it is the spin now. From the first link, above:
Congressional Democrats were furious when they learned that some insurers disagreed with their interpretation of the law.Oh! Bad corporations! Evil, greedy, selfish corporations! We'll hear that old refrain once again, with melodramatic new feeling. What a great opportunity to soften everyone up for the next big reform, when the government takes over everything. Down with the child-killing insurance companies!
“The concept that insurance companies would even seek to deny children coverage exemplifies why we fought for this reform,” said Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California and chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia and chairman of the Senate commerce committee, said: “The ink has not yet dried on the health care reform bill, and already some deplorable health insurance companies are trying to duck away from covering children with pre-existing conditions. This is outrageous.”