A signature achievement of Obamacare, we were told, was that it would provide immediate protection for children with pre-existing conditions.  In the brave new world of Obamacare, no ailing child could be denied coverage.

Turns out, that just ain’t so.  According to the Associated Press, “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 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.”

It’s a problem Congress could have fixed without resorting to a massive restructuring of our health care system.

How? Well, they could have made some simple changes to insurance rules to make sure policies will cover conditions discovered after the policy is issued.  They also should have moved to provide a path for the uninsured to get coverage of pre-existing conditions on a conditional basis.  And they certainly should have made it possible for individuals to buy coverage from outside their states. This would both allow consumers to shop on a national basis for health insurance that best suits their needs and expand the coverage options available to them.

In a recent video, Heritage analyst Ed Haislmaier lays out how best to reform the insurance market to meet the needs of Americans with pre-existing conditions.  To learn more about patient-centered, bipartisan approaches to health care reform, click here.