By Jeffrey Young - 01/16/10 07:34 PM EST
A cadre of Democratic lawmakers and patient groups is urging
congressional Democratic leaders to abandon plans to permit health
insurance companies to set lifetime limits on their customers’ benefits.
In letters sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidReid: Congress should return 'immediately' to fight Zika Classified briefings to begin for Clinton, Trump The Trail 2016: Her big night MORE (D-Nev.) and the other senior Democratic lawmakers authoring the final version of healthcare reform legislation, 29 House Democrats and seven Senate Democrats press the leaders to adopt the House’s take on the bill, which would prohibit insurers from establishing a dollar cap on how much they will pay out during a policyholder’s lifetime.
Sixty-three groups, including the American Heart Association, National Kidney Foundation, Easter Seals and groups representing cancer, brain and spinal cord injury, and other patients penned a similar letter on Jan. 8.
Under the House-passed healthcare reform bill, insurance companies would be prohibited from establishing annual or lifetime limits on benefits. Although the Senate-passed bill also forbids annual limits, it would permit lifetime limits in existing insurance plans by “grandfathering” those policies while forbidding new plans from establishing them.
Throughout the debate on healthcare reform, Democrats have routinely promised their legislation would free people from the anxiety that high medical bills would lead to financial ruin, prompting some lawmakers and patient groups to protest when the lifetime caps were introduced into the bill this autumn.
“By preserving lifetime limits, patients in grandfathered plans will be left behind as strong patient protections are extended to those who are newly insured,” the senators wrote.
The House letter is signed by the leaders of two prominent Democratic caucuses: Reps. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.) and Lynn Woolsey (Calif.), the co-chairpeople of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; and Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.), chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Other members of both caucuses are also represented.
In addition to Dorgan and Franken, Democratic Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownThe Trail 2016: Her big night Kaine as Clinton's VP pick sells out progressive wing of party Unions want one thing from Hillary tonight: A stake in TPP’s heart MORE (Ohio), Carl LevinCarl LevinAs other regulators move past implementing Dodd-Frank, the SEC falls further behind Will partisan politics infect the Supreme Court? Fight for taxpayers draws fire MORE (Mich.), Bob CaseyBob CaseyTim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense The Trail 2016: The newrevolution begins Liberal group: Kaine could be 'disastrous' VP pick MORE Jr. (Pa.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandMcAuliffe: I wouldn't want a 'caretaker' in Kaine's Senate seat Tim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense The Trail 2016: The newrevolution begins MORE (N.Y.) and Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerReid faces Sanders supporters' fury at DNC Calif. Dem touts her 'badass' sister's Senate run The Trail 2016: One large crack in the glass ceiling MORE (Calif.) signed the Senate letter.