Thursday, September 23, 2010

Regional HHS Director tells Wasden to "Take a Breath"

Posted By on Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 2:02 PM

President Barack Obama's "point person" for the Northwest on health and human services came to Boise Thursday to commemorate a landmark in health-care reform. As HHS Regional Director, Susan Johnson works with federal, state, local and tribal officials on a wide range of health and social service issues.

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Thursday is the six-month anniversary of the signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and today a number of its most central consumer protections take effect.

Beginning Thursday, Sept. 23, insurance companies can no longer exclude children because of pre-existing conditions (diabetes, birth defects). Johnson told Citydesk that the new provision could enable 72,000 uninsured to gain coverage. Insurers also will be prohibited from imposing lifetime limits on benefits.

The law also now forbids insurers to drop ill clients after discovering a technical error on an application. The measure also now requires that anyone under the age of 26 may remain on their parents' policies.

"We've still got a long way to go," Johnson told Citydesk, "But six words say it all: right care, right place, right time. Simply put, Americans will have more choice and more control over their care."

As for Idaho joining a 20-state lawsuit to block implementation of the new rules, Johnson said, "The law is the law. I would tell your attorney general to take a breath, and see how this benefits Idahoans and all Americans."

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