The Senate Bill and Rescissions

If you feel like wading through the 2,000 pages, here’s the full bill. The summaries are here. I noticed that the public option isn’t mentioned in the main summary.

One huge thing jumped off the page in the “immediate assistance” summary. Huge in a very troubling way.

Protection from Rescissions of Existing Coverage
 The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will stop insurers from rescinding insurance
when claims are filed, except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material
fact.

That’s not really a ban on rescissions. “Fraud and intentional misrepresentation of material fact” are precisely the excuses that the insurance companies are using when rescinding policies. Does the Senate actually believe that the insurance companies are telling people that their policy is rescinded because the got sick? No way.

They always claim that it’s due to fraud or misrepresentations. For example, one of the many horror stories involves a woman’s policy being rescinded because she didn’t report a prior case of acne. Her insurance company interpreted this as fraud and rescinded the policy. Fraud! The ban on rescissions is supposed to prevent this.

So how does the Senate bill differentiate between the two? If they intend to make these exceptions, I hope there’s some form of regulatory enforcement and investigation unit to serve as a backstop to determine, for example, what “misrepresentations” are intentional or not. But what they ought to do is ban rescission entirely. If there’s a case of fraud, maybe enforce some kind of penalty. Don’t take away a sick or injured person’s healthcare!

I’d love to ask Harry Reid about this whopper. Seriously, we need the Senate to fix this. And come to think of it, I wonder if this language is in the House bill as well.

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