By Julian Pecquet - 09/21/10 03:26 PM EDT
"Plain and simple, insurance companies can't be trusted," Ways and Means health panel Chair Pete Stark (D-Calif.) said Tuesday in the latest salvo after health plans announced they were dropping their children's coverage.
Several major insurance companies — including WellPoint, Cigna and CoventryOne — have decided to stop issuing children's policies just days before the start of new rules forbidding them from turning down sick children. The prohibition is among several provisions of the healthcare-reform law that kick in Thursday and that Democrats plan to highlight ahead of the midterm elections.
Democrats are especially galled by the announcement because the industry's lobbying arm, America's Health Insurance Plans, had appeared to support the measure.
"Six months ago, the insurance industry trade association promised that their members would 'fully comply' with the provision in the health reform law outlawing discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions, " Stark said in a statement. "Now with this consumer protection about to go into effect, we find out they didn't really mean it. The insurance industry has once again shown their reckless disregard for the well-being of consumers, which is why we need the health reform law that holds them accountable."