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Oh Baby: Infant Denied Health Coverage Due To Weight

If you still think we don’t need healthcare reform in the U.S., consider this: A 4-month-old baby is being denied health coverage by an insurer in Grand Junction, Colo., because the baby is too fat, the Denver Post reports. Details: The 4-month-old boy is in the 99th percentile for his age in height and weight. He is being exclusively breast fed by his mother and has grown from around 8 pounds 4 ounces at birth to nearly 17 pounds. Four. Months. Old. Pediatrician deemed him healthy. Parents are healthy and relatively fit, and  also have a healthy 2-year-old boy.

And people say the government is going to destroy our healthcare system?

OK, let’s be reasonable: Chances are, once the wildfire of press around this spreads sufficiently the company will rescind its decision and offer this lad coverage. (And, for the record, he could be covered by the family’s prior insurer but the parents decided to shop around because that firm raised the family’s rates by 40 percent after the boy was born.)  And, no, I don’t know of other cases where someone was denied coverage for the “pre-existing condition” of having been born hungry. So in the interest of fostering adult-level debate let’s acknowledge that this is probably a VERY isolated case and does not reflect the ethos of all insurers everywhere.

But still: A fat baby getting denied coverage is beyond ridiculous. I don’t think we need government RUNNING our healthcare system to the exclusion of all other players, but I would like our government – which we elected and to which we pay taxes – to have the authority to prevent or punish this kind of behavior. People who want government all the way out of healthcare should take a longer look at history – education, infrastructure, food safety, public security, financial system, etc. etc. – and concede that, without oversight, any sector of our economy is vulnerable to corruption (at all levels) and power plays by those with the means to take control.

And those people are typically a little older and a lot more “hungry” than one insatiable baby.

Comments welcome.

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