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Pre-existing illness cuts baby from insurance

March 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
There's new hope for the family of a baby boy being denied health insurance because Blue Cross Blue Shield says the newborn has a "pre-existing condition."The company says it has a solution for the Tracy family, but the details have not been released or finalized. Their baby was born the week before lawmakers passed health care reform.

Ten-day-old Houston Tracy was born with a congenital heart defect. Doctors performed life-saving surgery on the newborn, but when his parents tried to buy health insurance they were denied.

"They kept saying that it's pre-existing, it's pre-existing, but I don't know how it can be pre-existing on a baby that was just born," said Houston's father, Doug Tracy.

"My whole pregnancy was simple and easy. I had no complications and every doctor visit was great," described Houston's mother, Kim Tracy.

Blue Cross Blue Shield issued this statement Sunday night: "We understand what an emotional time this is for the Tracy family and we regret the frustration they are feeling. We've responded to Mr. Tracy in writing over the weekend and are pleased to report that we've proposed a solution that addresses his and his family's concerns."

The Tracy family will meet with officials Monday to see what the statement means for their son.

The new health care law, passed earlier this week, ends the practice of denying coverage based on a pre-existing conditions, but the legislation won't take effect until September.

The law faces a number of legal challenges. More than a dozen states are suing the federal government because the new law requires all Americans to have health insurance by 2014 or face a tax penalty.

"I do not believe that the United States government has the right or has the authority or power to force us to purchase health insurance any more than in the name of homeland security, they can force the American to have to buy a gun," said Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi.

However, democrats say the constitution allows congress to regulate interstate business, including health insurance.

"This is a frivolous lawsuit and it's a waste of taxpayer's dollars at a time when all the states are fighting to preserve those dollars," said Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania.

According to a new poll by the Washington Post, 50 percent of Americans oppose the new law whereas 46 percent of those polled say that they support the changes.