In a story sure to do some damage to the planned Obama road show this week to gin up support for the newly passed Obamacare, the Associated Press reported late last night that President Barack Obama has been explicitly misstating the immediate benefits of the Obamacare statutory language regarding insurer coverage of children’s pre-existing conditions. Specifically, Obama’s claim, as repeated many times over the past week and as recently as Saturday by the President, that insurance companies will immediately be forced to provide insurance to any child with a pre-existing condition is actually false:
Under the new law, insurance companies still would be able to refuse new coverage to children because of a pre-existing medical problem, said Karen Lightfoot, spokeswoman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the main congressional panels that wrote the bill President Barack Obama signed into law Tuesday.
However, if a child is accepted for coverage, or is already covered, the insurer cannot exclude payment for treating a particular illness, as sometimes happens now. For example, if a child has asthma, the insurance company cannot write a policy that excludes that condition from coverage. The new safeguard will be in place later this year.
In recent speeches, Obama has given the impression that the immediate benefit for kids is much more robust.
Full protection for children would not come until 2014, said Kate Cyrul, a spokeswoman for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, another panel that authored the legislation. That’s the same year when insurance companies could no longer deny coverage to any person on account of health problems.
The AP continues to describe the false claims made by Obama in the past few days:
Obama’s public statements conveyed the impression that the new protections for kids were sweeping and straightforward.
“This is a patient’s bill of rights on steroids,” the president said Friday at George Mason University in Virginia. “Starting this year, thousands of uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions will be able to purchase health insurance, some for the very first time. Starting this year, insurance companies will be banned forever from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions.”
And Saturday, addressing House Democrats as they approached a make-or-break vote on the bill, Obama said: “This year … parents who are worried about getting coverage for their children with pre-existing conditions now are assured that insurance companies have to give them coverage – this year.”
While the AP is obviously sympathetic to the President, and attempts to avoid directly calling the President a liar, the fact that Obama has specifically claimed that “starting this year, insurance companies will be banned forever from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions” while the actual language of the Obamacare bill he signed into law does not provide those new benefits until 2014 cannot be described in any other way than a lie. This is especially so because the statutory language of the Senate bill has been set in stone since the Christmas Eve vote by the Senate. One can only imagine the ferocity of the establishment media’s coverage if the name of the misleading President was Bush instead of Obama.
As the establishment media is so wedded to supporting the President, it is likely that the oft-repeated Obama lie about children’s pre-existing conditions will receive only limited coverage. The fact that the White House staff and President were apparently so clueless as to the actual statutory language of their own signature initiative indicates a level of incompetence that should be troubling to every American. Moving forward, Americans are left to wonder what claims about the immediate benefits to the public from Obamacare made by the President, if any, are actually truthful and which ones are either incompetently or intentionally false.
UPDATE: Hotair catches up with this CentristNet post from last night, notes that we could see a Democratic amendment in the Senate to fix this “issue” of Obama overclaiming the language of his own bill.