Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pre-Existing Conditions

It was reassuring to hear the president say last night that no plan he puts forward will include federal funding of abortion or will remove the conscience clause. While this is being treated with much skepticism by those who foam at the mouth every time this president speaks, it was welcome news to my ears. There was also some skepticism on blogs today about whether or not the anecdotes he provided were entirely true. Well, this much is true pretty much everywhere in the United States: insurance companies still reserve the right to refuse coverage to people because of pre-existing conditions. As the parent of a child born with congenital heart and orthopedic problems, this is of particular interest to me.

As things stand now, when our youngest reaches the age when my employer will no longer insure her on my plan, she will need to go out and get her own insurance. And because she wasn't born perfect, she can be told "sorry, we don't cover people who had problems prior to seeking coverage with us" even if she applies for insurance with my carrier. This flies in the face of defending life at all stages. People are faced with seeking the care they need and incurring personal bankruptcy, or going without and facing certain death. As a priest once told me when admonishing me for neglecting my own health, thou shall not kill refers to slow deaths too.

I can understand that people may not trust President Obama to handle this issue in a manner consistent with the unconditional support of life. He does, after all, have an abysmal record on abortion. But it isn't enough to slam the door on his plan. The members of congress committed to defending life need to come forward with a plan of their own that will end discrimination against people who weren't born perfect. Insurance companies rake in money hand over fist. They can more than afford to do the right thing. And our elected officials should see to it that if they won't do it voluntarily, they'll be subjected by law to insure everyone willing to pay their outrageous premiums.

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