DEMS HAVE A FEW WORDS FOR WELLPOINT…. A Reuters report yesterday pointed to an insurance company practice that’s so awful, it’s almost hard to believe. Reporter Murray Waas explained that WellPoint, an insurance powerhouse, apparently developed a policy of targeting customers with breast cancer, and then launching fraud investigations against them so their coverage could be dropped.

The practice is just breathtaking. According to government regulators and investigators, the affected customers had paid all their premiums and had no problems with their insurer, but WellPoint decided their breast cancer treatment would be expensive. It was easier to investigate them, rely on “erroneous or flimsy information,” and drop the customers before the medical bills started piling up.

It’s “rescission” at its most offensive.

Obama administration officials contacted WellPoint about this today, and White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer posted this item:

Just yesterday, we read with great alarm a news report that WellPoint, one of the country’s largest health insurers, is routinely dropping coverage for women that are diagnosed with breast cancer.

These are the kinds of scenarios that motivated the President to work so long and so hard to pass health reform. And because of the health reform legislation passed last month, the worst excesses and abuses of the insurance industry — including what WellPoint is said to have done — will soon be reined in by new tough consumer protections.

Yesterday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote a letter to WellPoint’s CEO urging her company to immediately end this harmful practice.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was outraged, too.

“WellPoint’s practice of dropping anyone’s coverage when they get sick – whether a woman with breast cancer or any other patient – is exactly the kind of insurance company abuse our new health care law prohibits.

“Soon every American can be secure knowing that their insurance companies cannot cancel their coverage because of an illness.

“And when Republican leaders call for repeal of the health reform law, they are endorsing a return to these abusive policies that have no place in our medical system.”

I still occasionally find it hard to believe health care reform was deemed unnecessary by so many.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.