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. Scott in NC

    I wonder whether the Republicans will once again rise to defend the insurance industry as they try to deny health care to sick children. They can't say it's a "slippery slope" because people will think they're talking about the that strip club visit they paid for.

    March 29, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  2. malclave

    The Demcorats can't even get key components of their legislation right?

    Or did they leave it out intentionally to try to force a demand for direct government control of the health care industry?

    Either way... Obamacare is already a failure.

    March 29, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  3. peacesign55

    Hey all you Republicans, what do you have to say about this? Socialism!

    March 29, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  4. Peter

    Bravo, Sec. Sebelius! Bravo! This is exactly why I think the legislation did not go far enough. Private business should not be involved in something so basic to human needs as healthcare. Because, as all businesses should, they will do all they can to increase their bottom line. Even if that means denying care to children. We should not shame businesses for this, but ourselves for having allowed businesses to be in the healthcare market to begin with. Govenment needs to take over healthcare as a moral issue if nothing else. We need to stop talking about a government take over of healthcare as if it were a bad thing, just because the insurance industry and their Republican friends want us to think that way. So far, they've done a good job of making "government take over of healthcare" sound like a four-letter word, but we don't have to buy their baloney.

    March 29, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  5. Wmscot

    It figures that the health companies would try to wiggle themselves out of what is right. Let them try and we will be back with a universal health care package ( that we should have had) and they will be a memory !

    March 29, 2010 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  6. CSZ

    I don't like the Health Care Bill. Please repeal it!!!

    March 29, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  7. joec

    Pay all your taxes yet Kathy? Dictate your dribble only to the insurers who the gov't loaned money to otherwise STFU. Say hello to higher premiums, less doctors accepting Medicare, and prescription drug companies doing less research and development with ignorant government regulation.

    March 29, 2010 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  8. nylady

    Sebelius and the fed. govt is an embarrassment to the American people

    March 29, 2010 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  9. Joe E.

    A warning shot across the bow? Good!

    Keep plenty of ammo, though, for the inevitable weaseling that is being planned. Any company not acting in good faith shuold be sanctioned heavily. I suggest revocation of their privilege to sell insurance.............on the FIRST infraction! No excuses!

    March 29, 2010 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  10. Harvey

    Boy does she look evil in that picture.....geez-oy!

    March 29, 2010 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  11. Four and The Door

    Are you kidding, Secretary Sebelius? The insurance executives love love love ObamaCare. This will be their ticket to double the premiums and get 25% more customers courtesy of the American taxpayer.

    I only wish the liberals tried to screw around in my industry. No such luck though. The American people only have so much money. Meanwhile, I'm getting health care stocks. They will be booming thanks to you Democrats.

    March 29, 2010 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  12. dan smith

    Heed your own words and repeal this unconstitutional bill.

    March 29, 2010 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  13. John

    It's not so much a broken system but, a corrupt system enabled by the republican party to benefit the rich.

    March 29, 2010 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  14. Lance

    "Affordability, quality, and accessibility of our health care system" are all negatively impacted by this "reform," and if Sebilus had cared about any of the above she would have done her job and supported effective and sustainable legislation. By all means, lets not "look closely at the language of the new law" – why any good cabinet secretery would suggest that the language of the law is not relevant and it is irresponsible of the industry being regulated to care about the bill that was actually passed. Democrats did not look closely at the langauge, or apparently even read the language, to pass it, so why does anyone else care? The most clear thing we got from the debate is that the "broken system" is our legislative process and that Kathleen Sebilus is an incompetent hack.

    March 29, 2010 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  15. dave

    sorry sweetie. if you have to go on record as denying that you're're stupid

    March 29, 2010 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  16. Kate

    I am for the healthcare law. Finally someone cares about all Americans.
    Sebelius and Obama....way to go!

    March 29, 2010 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  17. normajean

    Over the years,the insurance industry has expanded and used any angle and loophole to fill their coffers, even to a point of many,many businesses and individual citizens having to give up on having health insurance at all. Hopefully this greed has finally caught up with them and health insurance for millions will finally be available once again for the hardworking who are trying to live a long and healthy life,. A privilege that many other countries in our world already have.

    March 29, 2010 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  18. jim

    bravo! it's about time the US of A joined the modern world in regards to health care.

    March 29, 2010 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  19. Jon G Sisler

    Oh...don't bother to actually READ and FOLLOW the law...just do what we tell you!

    March 29, 2010 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  20. ohheyusa

    "Legislative intent" does not equal legislation. This is insane. This bill was not even read by congressmen before they voted, and now insurance companies are being reprimanded for reading it?? The law is the law, and what was voted on is now law. If insurance companies aren't required to cover children with pre-existing conditions until 2013, there is nothing Sebelius or anyone else in the executive branch can do about it. Saying "Congress and the President" have acted is not accurate.

    March 29, 2010 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  21. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans will help them find loopholes otherwise they wouldn't be looking for any. Republicans are paid millions by insurance lobbyist to do so.

    March 29, 2010 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  22. Justin Russell

    If there were ever an argument for more gov't regulation, it's the health insurance industry.

    March 29, 2010 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  23. Bob in Pa

    Kind of sounds like "resistance is futile" doesn't it !?

    March 29, 2010 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  24. william fitzwater

    Go! Go ! Go! Get this ball rolling get people signed show all Americans how good this is. Lets start saving American lives . This reform will do perciscely that !

    March 29, 2010 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  25. Just Lost my insurance

    I work for large U.S. corporation who has informed us that they will be discontinuing health insurance coverage and paying the fine for non coverage as it will save them over 60% of what they currently pay for insurance for me and my wife. Thanks to Obama and the others I now will have to come up with the total amount of our insurance coverage and get no tax break or assistance since we make over too much to qualify for assistance but well below rich level that I seem to be deem in. You can guess my thought's about this wonderful plan. Only people getting any thing from it are the ones that believe they are entitled to free ride.

    March 29, 2010 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
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