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Health law risks turning away sick
By Julian Pecquet - 07/01/10 07:13 PM ET
The Obama administration has not ruled out turning sick people away from an insurance program created by the new healthcare law to provide coverage for the uninsured.
Critics of the $5 billion high-risk pool program insist it will run out of money before Jan. 1, 2014. That’s when the program sunsets and health plans can no longer discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.
Administration officials insist they can make changes to the program to ensure it lasts until 2014, and that it may not have to turn away sick people. Officials said the administration could also consider reducing benefits under the program, or redistributing funds between state pools. But they acknowledged turning some people away was also a possibility.
If it looks like too many people are signing up — states will get monthly updates on how many people they can cover with the money they have left — there’s always the option of turning people down.