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ObamaCare’s high-risk pools may deny coverage

This week the Denver Business Journal and the Denver Post reported on Colorado’s new federally subsidizes high-risk pools (”GettingUSCovered”). But there’s a good reason to be concerned about quality and access. The Hill reports:

The Obama administration has not ruled out turning sick people away from an insurance program created by the new healthcare law [HR 3590] to provide coverage for the uninsured.

Critics of the $5 billion high-risk pool program insist it will run out of money before Jan. 1, 2014. That’s when the program sunsets and health plans can no longer discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.

Administration officials insist they can make changes to the program to ensure it lasts until 2014, and that it may not have to turn away sick people. Officials said the administration could also consider reducing benefits under the program, or redistributing funds between state pools. But they acknowledged turning some people away was also a possibility.

Read the whole article: Health law risks turning away sick.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air comments:

Only one of two things will happen when it’s gone, so it’s hardly “premature” to discuss it.  One option would be to go back to Congress and get more money.  That would mean admitting that Congress had no idea what this program would cost in the first place, and it would also likely push the program even more quickly into deficit spending, so that’s politically unpalatable.  The second would be to stop funding health insurance for those with pre-existing conditions, which means they will be left uninsured until 2014 — and that’s probably even more politically unpalatable.  The only question will be which poison the White House chooses to drink.

If they pick Poison #2, Rob Port from Say Anything has a question for them:

Just so we got this straight, it might be ok for the government to discriminate based on pre-existing conditions, because letting people refrain from getting insurance until they’re sick is a good way to lose a lot of money, but private insurance companies?

Well, it’s evil when they do it.

What turned out to be “premature” was the passage of ObamaCare.  As this demonstrates, Congress had no clear idea of actual costs or complications in the program.  It should never have passed in the first place, but this key issue shows what happens when government attempts to run a business sector without having any expertise in it.

In an article about pre-existing conditions (that for some reason omits health status insurance), James Capretta and Tom Miller note something similar:

…[T]he secretary of Health and Human Services is first authorized to determine which pre-existing conditions make a potential enrollee eligible for federal high-risk pool coverage — and then, as budget funds run short, is required to figure out how to avoid actually providing that person with the promised health-care coverage. The results are easy to foresee: waiting periods, benefit limits, and rationing of care — all the practices for which the new law’s champions like to attack the private insurance industry.