Like the man said, this is a big f***ing deal.

Obama made better coverage for children a centerpiece of his health care remake, but it turns out the letter of the law provided a less-than-complete guarantee that kids with health problems would not be shut out of coverage.

Under the new law, insurance companies still would be able to refuse new coverage to children because of a pre-existing medical problem, said Karen Lightfoot, spokeswoman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the main congressional panels that wrote the bill Obama signed into law Tuesday.

However, if a child is accepted for coverage, or is already covered, the insurer cannot exclude payment for treating a particular illness, as sometimes happens now.

HHS is promising to issue regulations to insurance companies that would close the access loophole. All fixed? Not quite. Turns out Reid never got around to including The One’s highly touted vow to let young adults stay on their parents’ plans until age 26 in the Senate bill, so for the moment, it’s no-go on that promise too. The House stuck it back in as part of the reconciliation fix so presumably it’ll be law next week, but here’s a thought to chew on while we wait for things to play out:

“That’s how politics works,” said Jennifer Tolbert, a policy analyst at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit that has been closely tracking the legislation.

Tolbert said the president was talking about the package – the law he signed yesterday and the pending reconciliation legislation in the Senate – because Senate Democrats believe they have the votes to pass the bill.

None of the legislation spells out who is supposed to pay for the coverage.

“I don’t know that employers have thought it through,” said Paul Fronstin, director of health research for the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington. “Now they have to think it out.”

As MKH reminds us, Pelosi said we’d have to pass the bill first before we could find out what’s in it, didn’t she? Little did we know. Via RCP, below you’ll find her latest creepy thought, musing that the airtight O-Care process might just be a model for all sorts of statist garbage going forward. We are blessed to live in such an age, my friends. Exit question courtesy of Tom Maguire: How did both Democratic and Republican researchers miss the loophole about preexisting conditions for kids? Did anyone at all read this bill? Or did the Dems purposely leave stuff out in order to force the GOP to take a tough separate vote on it? Surely the black-hearted pennypinching conservatives in the House wouldn’t dare oppose a supplemental measure for The Children, would they?