Congress Must Stand up to the “Whims” of Health Insurers

“Most Americans do have insurance and have never had less security and stability than they do right now because they’re subject to the whims of health insurance companies,” President Obama told a group of nurses, speaking from the White House the morning after his Sept. 10 address to a joint session of Congress about his plan to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system. “Obama Keeps Up Health Care Push, Citing Uninsured,” New York Times.

As part of his Wednesday night speech, the president said the legislation he seeks would guarantee insurance to consumers, regardless of pre-existing medical conditions, as well as other protections. “As soon as I sign this bill, it will be against the law for insurance companies to drop your coverage when you get sick or water it down when you need it most,” he added. Obama: Time for Bickering Is Over,” Associated Press.

Even though the bulk of the healthcare debate tends to focus on the issue of whether our country could support both private and public health insurance options – we believe it can – the real truth about the way the insurance industry does business cannot be over-emphasized.

The president has it right when he says health insurers must be held accountable. At the very least, any federal health care legislation should mandate that sick people get the coverage they pay for without delays or denials, time-consuming procedures, and claims adjusters forced to be more concerned with limiting benefits than caring for their customers.

Although legislators are showing concern that the debate has become “uncivil,” real progress toward insurance reform necessarily requires a vigorous airing of the issues. We applaud those lawmakers who refuse to bend to the insurance industry’s “whims.”

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