March 29th, 2010
08:35 PM ET
13 years ago

Sebelius to insurers: Don't try to preserve a 'broken system'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="'We intend to follow the law,' HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday on CNN."]
Washington (CNN) – The Obama administration is wasting no time beginning its implementation of the new health care legislation.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent a letter Monday to the insurance industry regarding a key feature of the Democratic health care plan – the prohibition on denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. She cautioned the industry not to try to find loopholes in the new law that would ‘preserve a broken system.’

Later: Insurers agree to comply with law's intent

In an interview on CNN’s John King, USA, Sebelius explained why she sent the correspondence.

Some media reports, Sebelius said, suggested the insurance industry was looking closely at the language in the new law.

Related video: Sebelius reaches out to insurance industry

“And we just thought it was appropriate as we are in the process of developing regulations for the policy that will be the law in September of this year, to make it very clear that parents shouldn’t worry,” Sebelius said. “The law is that children with pre-existing conditions must be covered under their parent’s policies. The services that they need for those pre-existing conditions must be covered.”

Sebelius added that the regulations regarding coverage of kids with pre-existing conditions will be out “shortly.”

“But in the meantime we thought it was it was appropriate to put the companies on notice that that’s was the legislative intent. That’s what we intend to do. We intend to follow the law.”

In her letter, Sebelius took a stern tone with the insurance industry.

“The American people debated and discussed health insurance reform for more than a year,” the Health and Human Services Secretary wrote. “Congress and the President have acted. Now is not the time to search for non-existent loopholes that preserve a broken system. Instead, we should work together to do the hard work of improving the affordability, quality, and accessibility of our health care system.”

Filed under: Health care • JKUSA • John King USA • Kathleen Sebelius • Popular Posts
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. FL

    Nothing the government has their hands on ends well. oboma's policies have a greater price tag than you can imagine. With the bail-outs our debt has gone out of control. ADD the one trillion plus health care bill and the U.S. will lose its triple A credit rating. What that means is we won't be able to finance our debt as easy. Taxes will have to go up more than planned. That will cause loss of jobs which will trigger even higher taxes. The stock market will shrink and inflation will take off. Social Security is already in the red so the government take-over of your 401k will begin, which is already in the works. Do not believe me do a little research. Business has already stop growing for over a year, not because of the economy but because of fear of oboma's agenda. The Market has already begun the shift. The great crash was the same, several fluctuations and the bottom drops out. Oboma claims to help the poor but they are the ones that will pay the price. The only one who thinks things are getting better is oboma the facts say different.

    March 29, 2010 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  2. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    The insurance industry may be broken in a lot of ways, and they may be cold-hearted money-grubbers in other ways, but they're models of efficiency and competence compared to the idiocracy of the federal government. And, unlike Obama, the insurance companies can't fine you and/or jail you for not buying insurance.

    If the people of this country wanted to curb the abuses of the insurance companies, the states could have done that without involving the feds and without wasting two trillion bucks on yet another entitlement program for welfare bums.

    March 29, 2010 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  3. Sandra South Carolina

    Thank you Secretary Sebelius. We need your power to protect us.

    March 29, 2010 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  4. BeanerECMO

    They are not trying to preserve the broken HHS system; they are trying to preserve a medical care system that is the best in the world. Remember, Medicare rejects by a 2 to 1 ratio medical procedures over private insurance approved procedures.

    March 29, 2010 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  5. Michael from Ventura

    What they want to preserve is their huge profits at the cost of the American people.

    March 29, 2010 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  6. JP

    Looks like they kept the part of the broken system that lets the trial bar leaches to continue sucking the life blood out of the US economy. Is this the no hope and no change you voted for.

    March 29, 2010 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  7. perryrants

    loopholes, what loopholes. I am sure this bill is rock solid tight!

    March 29, 2010 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  8. Liberal and Proud of It

    Great Job, Secretary Sebelius. Congratulations for all of your hard work on this bill, and of course, protecting American children from the insurance companies ("Death Panels") which largely control medical care–well, along with the drug companies.

    I also love your symphonies, especially the Second Symphony.

    March 29, 2010 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  9. Joe

    Seems to me Kathy isn't too confident in the language of the bill. Perhaps if they hadn't rushed, they could have gotten it right? Or maybe not – the people that know what they are doing will always outsmart those that are just guessing.

    March 30, 2010 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  10. BeverlyNC

    One day I hope there will be no more insurance companies. No more greed, No more abuses of people in need of good care.
    Insurance companies serve no purpose. They are what stand in the way of us and our doctors. They are what cause nightmares in paperwork and claims denial. They are what frustrate and destroy the lives of good people.
    Think how much more money could be invested in research, technology, and preventive care if the greedy middle man insurance companies did not exist.
    Thank you President Obama and all the Democrats who stood up for we the People and did something wonderful for all Americans. he Democrats are the Party of the People.

    March 30, 2010 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  11. John Hennessy Black

    A true GOD SEND from a person who not only know Health Care, but, Insurance Companies, as well.

    It is well understood that they: the Health Insurance Companies & the Pharmas will attempt to GAME the new Health Care System... even my boss aslked me to find loop holes...

    March 30, 2010 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  12. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    It has always been the policy of big insurance to deny coverage to deny coverage to those who need it most, overcharge those who don't need it and make sure the Republican Party owes them their souls.

    If you can find a Republican with a soul.

    Almost all of the Republicans in office are lawyers first.

    And we all know that lawyers have their hearts removed to make room for another wallet.

    March 30, 2010 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  13. Adam CT

    To Obama, Sebelius or whoever else they send out: You can give the insurance companies a stern talking to as much as you want but they aren't going to voluntarily change their ways. Remember why there was need for reform in the first place? I wonder how some insurance company executives can sleep at night but I don't blame them at all. They have a legal responsibility to take as much money from customers as possible and give back in care as little as possible. If that means denying coverage or care to kids that is what they are legally obligated to do if they can get away with it. Maybe if you didn't let the industry write this bill and let the Blue Dogs and Republicans water it down and fought for stronger reform we wouldn't be in this situation would we?

    March 30, 2010 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  14. Richard Komi

    The bill clearly states that health insurance companies can not deny you coverage due to a re-existing condition. That is what is important for those who are opposed to this bill to know. This bill is designed to help suffering Americans get more coverage from insurers.

    March 30, 2010 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  15. Seattle Voter

    Insurance companies do make profits. I know their CEO's makes millions in salaries, bonuses and and stocks. Insurance do not pay 100% of the acquired bills. Patients pay their copays and deductibles. Insurance do have contractual allowance depending what percentage they negotiated with hospitals/ clinics. It is time that Americans do their part and be responsible for their well being. I know some people who was forced to file bankruptcy due to MEDICAL BILLS.

    March 30, 2010 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  16. Demonhunter

    Gee whiz, maybe you should have actually written the proposed law and actually allowed debate on the various provisions before voting for it. That is one way to find out flaws and unintended consequences.

    But, I guess that would be too bipartisan, too democratic and way too transparent. You wouldn't want to spoil a perfect record and actually keep a campaign promise.

    March 30, 2010 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  17. Mike in SA

    Excuse me Madam Sebelius, but it's not like you did anything to change what's broken in the system. All you did was load millions of more people onto it.

    Perhaps if our representatives were to actually read the bill instead of mocking their constituents when we ask them to do so, blatant things like this would not be missed. Also, I'm not sure what you're scolding the insurance companies for considering “The American people debated and discussed health insurance reform for more than a year”...and then Congress ignored their will.

    March 30, 2010 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  18. Aaron

    The lady means well, but the insurance companies will undoubtedly find loopholes in the law. You just can't keep good jackals like them down.

    March 30, 2010 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  19. Preston kathy

    Preston kathy the gop does not care about any body bv the rich it is your party mr president

    March 30, 2010 04:40 am at 4:40 am |
  20. Jacq

    She's right,their crooked......

    March 30, 2010 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  21. Jacq

    She's right,their crooked......if they do they should be hit with a wind fall tax,if you notice since the dems been in power the oil companies are not running a muck,for fear of just that

    March 30, 2010 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
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