Politicians declare war on pre-existing condition exclusions

In recent days, President Obama has been decrying the use of pre-existing conditions by health insurers to exclude some patients from individual coverage. In doing so, he's become one of a growing number of political figures who have declared war on the practice, which infuriates consumers and has met with challenges from some policy analysts.

Right now, 44 states allow insurers to deny coverage or charge higher prices for individuals and families due to pre-existing conditions, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. One of the few states barring insurers from denying coverage on these grounds is New Jersey, where rates have soared to two or three times the pricing found elsewhere.

As for insurers, they say that they're willing to consider dropping such rules, but only if coverage becomes universal, as such requirements would help insurers avoid ending up only with the sickest people in a population. However, it's not clear whether such rules are likely to be implemented, as reviews are mixed on how successful the state of Massachusetts' pioneering universal coverage law has been.

To learn more about this issue:
- read this piece from The Philadelphia Inquirer

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