Family relieved by ruling on pre-existing conditions


Thursday morning's Supreme Court decision on America's historic health care overhaul brought a big measure of relief to one Bay Area family. The Tanners have a young son born with a condition that will require him to have extensive medical care for the rest of his life.

Besides dealing every day with 7-year-old Aaron's life-threatening condition, his parents have had to worry about whether he'll have medical care going forward. Thursday, at least part of that burden was lifted.

Aaron, from Brentwood, was born with a congenital heart condition and had the first of three open heart surgeries at just 10 days old. After years of waiting, with his kidney and heart failing, Aaron finally received a life-saving double transplant when he was five.

Today, Aaron is not only a survivor, he's thriving, but keeping him healthy requires regular visits to various doctors.

"Right now, he's going in every four to six weeks for checkups, blood works, biopsies; he's going in quite often," Aaron's mother, Elizabeth Tanner, said. "We're anticipating a long road ahead of medical care with Aaron."

That's why Aaron's parents were especially relieved to learn that most of president's health care package was upheld by the Supreme Court, especially the part that requires insurance companies to cover a patient with a pre-existing condition.

"It will mean a lot for Aaron in case there was a problem with our insurance and we had to switch over," Tanner said. "I know there's no pre-existing clause, so that won't matter any longer."

Beyond that, Tanner doesn't really know how the rest of the health care package could help or hurt her family in the years to come. Despite having an expensive preferred provider plan through her husband's work, Tanner says they owe more than $1 million for medical expenses related to Aaron's condition that the insurance company refuses to pay.

"I think if you have a life-altering medical crisis in your family there shouldn't be too many questions asked," she said. "A lot of these things should be covered; you should be able to get the care that you need when you need it and shouldn't have to go through so many hoops."

Like so many Americans, the Tanners have little idea how the rest of the package will affect them going forward. Besides losing their care, the biggest concern is whether it will cost them more in the future. That part is still unclear.

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