Mandates don’t stay modest, a continuing series

This remains an underreported story:

Should health insurers have to cover treatment of Lyme disease? What about speech therapy for autistic children? Or infertility treatments?

Can they limit the number of chemotherapy rounds allowed cancer patients? Or restrict the type of dialysis offered to people with kidney disease?

This week an independent advisory group convened by the Obama administration launched what is likely to be a long and emotional process to answer such questions…

Under the health-care overhaul law, beginning in 2014 all new insurance plans for individuals and small businesses will have to include a package of minimum "essential benefits" falling into 10 general categories – ranging from hospitalization, to prescription drugs, to rehabilitative and habilitative services. But Congress largely left it to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to decide how detailed to make the essential benefits package and what exactly to put in it.

Defenders of ACA do not in general like to confront the "at what margin?" question.  The rhetoric used to argue for the bill usually suggests that the mandate must indeed be extended.  I will keep my eye on this issue.  Here are previous installments in the series.


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