Before our family was touched by catastrophic illness all this healthcare jazz bored me. To tears. I had little concern for who was advocating for whom. Who might be managing insurance budgets. And cuts. Or for the unfortunate souls who found themselves at the short end of the coverage stick. I was too busy gearing up to save the world. One Tanzanian child at a time.
Two years ago my thinking radically changed. Which is most likely why my working hubby would forward me the article below. (nothin' like a little hot n' steamy poli-talk) And equally why I would read it.
Health care loophole would allow coverage limits
(the author Mr. ALONSO-ZALDIVAR knows how to catch this girl's eye)
A loophole in the Senate health care bill would let insurers place annual dollar limits on medical care for people struggling with costly illnesses such as cancer, prompting a rebuke from patient advocates.
The legislation that originally passed the Senate health committee last summer would have banned such limits, but a tweak to that provision weakened it in the bill now moving toward a Senate vote.
As currently written, the Senate Democratic health care bill would permit insurance companies to place annual limits on the dollar value of medical care, as long as those limits are not "unreasonable." The bill does not define what level of limits would be allowable, delegating that task to administration officials.
Adding to the puzzle, the new language was quietly tucked away in a clause in the bill still captioned "No lifetime or annual limits."
The 2,074-page bill would carry out President Barack Obama's plan to revamp the health care system...
Officials of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network said they were taken by surprise when the earlier ban on annual coverage limits was undercut, adding that they have not been able to get a satisfactory explanation.
"We don't know who put it in, or why it was put in," said Stephen Finan, a policy expert with the cancer society's advocacy affiliate...
Advocates for patients say they're concerned the language will stay in the bill all the way to Obama's desk.
"The primary purpose of insurance is to protect people against catastrophic loss," Finan said. "If you put a limit on benefits, by definition it's going to affect people who are dealing with catastrophic loss." The cost of cancer treatment can exceed $100,000 a year.
...Both the Senate and House bills, for example, ban lifetime limits on the dollar value of coverage.
But Finan said the change in the Senate bill essentially invalidates the legislation's ban on lifetime limits.
"If you can have annual limits, saying there's no lifetime limits becomes meaningless," he said. A patient battling aggressive disease in its later stages could conceivably exhaust insurance benefits in the course of a year. Read more...
Not to get all Squeaky Wheel on this crisp approaching Christmas night. But does that sound scarey? Or is it just me?