Shortly after the health care bill was signed into law last week, it became clear that someone, either the Democrats in Congress or President Obama, had messed up. Obama had been saying publicly that the bill would immediately ban insurance companies from denying children with pre-existing conditions from buying new insurance plans. But what the bill actually did was ban insurers from denying certain services for children with pre-existing conditions who are already insured.
To fix the situation, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she would issuing regulations that would apply Obama's interpretation over the letter of the law, but it was unclear whether insurers would follow regulations that go beyond what had been passed by Congress and signed into law. Today, the health insurers announced that they will voluntarily go beyond the letter of the law and immediately stop denying children with pre-existing conditions from getting new insurance plans.Read Full Article
As part of the White House health care plan, President Obama wants to give the federal government the authority to block “unreasonable” rate hikes by health insurance companies. Earlier this month California-based Anthem Blue Cross, a subsidiary of health insurance mega-company WellPoint, announced that it would be increasing the cost of insurance premiums for thousands of its customers. In some cases, the premiums would be jump by as much as 39 percent. The rate hike sparked an outcry from...Read Full Article
Has the final shoe dropped in the recent boomlet of enthusiasm for the public option? Greg Sargent posts a statement from the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] offering generic support for passing a public option through the Senate under reconciliation: If a decision is made to use reconciliation to advance health care, Senator Reid will work with the White House, the House, and members of his caucus in an effort to craft a public option that can overcome procedural obstac...Read Full Article
As of today, 18 Senators have signed a letter supporting the use of the reconciliation process to pass a public option. Now, the president's HHS secretary is implying that he could join the effort as well.Read Full Article
Despite a few setbacks, President Barack Obama was able to fill out his Cabinet one day shy of his 100th day in office, with the Senate's confirmation of Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Sebelius was the target of some opposition from Republicans due to her record of support for abortion rights.Read Full Article