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Obama touts health care reform successes

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Obama: 'A true patient's bill of rights'
  • Americans already seeing the benefits of health care reform, Obama says
  • Insurers must not use reform as excuse to raise rates, he insists
  • Government issues new regulations to end "worst practices" in insurance industry
  • President spoke 90 days after signature initiative passed

(CNN) -- Health care reform was "a long overdue victory for America's consumers and patients" and Americans are "already seeing a wave of change," President Barack Obama said Tuesday as he touted the success of his signature domestic policy initiative.

But health insurers must not use health care reform as an excuse to raise rates, and the government will make sure they don't, Obama said.

He was speaking 90 days after the passage of the Affordable Care Act and patients' bill of rights.

The departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury issued new regulations Tuesday "that will put an end to some of the worst practices in the insurance industry," Obama said.

They included banning health insurers from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions; preventing insurers from canceling coverage if someone makes "an unintentional mistake" on an application; and barring them from imposing lifetime or annual limits on coverage.

Some insurers have begun to implement some provisions of the law before they are required to do so, he said.

"I want to thank those companies that agreed to do this," he said, citing examples such as allowing people to stay on their parents' health insurance until they are 26 years old.

Obama met earlier Tuesday with health insurance executives and state regulators to discuss "how we are going to work together to implement health insurance reform," he said.

He said the White House is "looking out for the American consumer," but the new regulations are "not punitive" against health insurers, who benefit from being able to compete for a new pool of tens of millions of potential customers.