Sebelius Heralds Early Successes Of Overhaul
"In a letter to leaders of Congress, the secretary of health and human services, Kathleen Sebelius, reported on Monday that the Obama administration is moving quickly to carry out the expansive new health care law, particularly provisions that she referred to as 'early insurance market reforms,'" The New York Times reports. In the letter, Ms. Sebelius said that 65 insurance companies had voluntarily agreed to offer dependent coverage to adult children up to age 26 even though the legal requirement for such coverage does not begin until Sept. 23." Sebelius also mentioned insurers' agreement "to speed up coverage for children who were previously denied benefits based on pre-existing medical conditions," progress on high risk pools and rebates for Medicare patients who fall into the prescription drug "doughnut hole" (Herszenhorn, 5/11).
Politico: "The letter is part of an administration campaign to convey the impression that the debate is over and the health care train is leaving the station. ... [It] was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as leaders of the health-related committees. HHS is also working on establishing regulations related to 'medical loss ratio' provisions that would require insurers to spend a specific portion of their costs on medical care. Sebelius said the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which is required to issue definitions to help her establish the regulations, has agreed to speed up its work and make a submission by June 1 instead of December 31" (Haberkorn, 5/10).