Navigation Links
Baucus Health Plan Won't Rein in Health Insurer Price Gouging of Middle Class; Consumer Watchdog Calls for 'Prior Approval' Rate Regulation in Health Reform
Date:9/16/2009

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The new health reform plan released today by U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) will charge middle-class families nearly 20% of their annual income for health coverage, while letting insurance companies charge what they please for policies, said Consumer Watchdog. The consumer group, which pioneered the most successful insurance premium regulation law in the nation, today said only the extension of such regulation to health insurance can make insurance affordable -- which it must be, if Americans will be forced to buy it.

The group called on Congress to adopt health insurance rate regulation that requires prior approval of rate increases. Such regulation has saved drivers in California $62 billion on auto insurance rates since 1988, and similar savings would be expected for health insurance rates. Such regulation would control the startling health premium and out of pocket rates illustrated in a chart leaked from the Senate Finance Committee, showing yearly average out-of-pocket costs of $15,300 for a family of four making $78,000.

Americans who do not purchase insurance policies under the Baucus plan would pay up to $3,800 in penalties.

"Government cannot force families to pay more than their mortgage to purchase coverage from a for-profit insurer," said Jerry Flanagan, health policy director of Consumer Watchdog. "Yet if families paying more than 10% are automatically exempted from the law, they will still be without health care. It's an impossible bind, and tough, transparent regulation is the right start to fixing it."

Download Consumer Watchdog's report, Regulation, Not Deregulation: The Prescription for Lowering Health Costs Without Cutting Coverage (With or Without a Public Option), at: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org/resources/Regulate_Not_Deregulate.pdf

The components of California's landmark property and casualty insurance regulation law, Proposition 103, include:

** A prior approval system for rates requiring insurers to seek permission from government regulators and justify rate increases. Since 1988, California's Proposition 103 has saved drivers $62 billion while fostering a competitive and still profitable insurance market.

** An intervenor system that allows the public to challenge unnecessary premium hikes. Since 2003, Consumer Watchdog has saved $1.7 billion by challenging unnecessary premium increase and insufficient decrease requests using the public intervention process.

** An elected state-level commissioner accountable to the public directly for premium hikes. To ensure that the reforms would be properly enforced, Proposition 103 made the state insurance commissioner an elected position accountable directly to the voters, not a political appointee.

A 2008 Consumer Federation of America report detailing the savings of Proposition 103 can be downloaded at: http://www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/state_auto_insurance_report.pdf. A related press release is available at: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/insurance/articles/?storyId=19888.

In addition, Consumer Watchdog in its report Regulation, Not Deregulation:

** Calls for legal accountability of health insurance companies and HMOs. The Baucus plan fails to close a loophole in existing law that bars many Americans from holding health insurance companies and HMOs financially accountable. Currently, for patients who receive health coverage through a private employer, HMOs and health insurers face no financial consequences for mishandling claims. Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), lawsuits are removed to federal court where victims can only recover the cost of the procedure or service denied in the first place -- no damages or penalties are allowed. As a result, HMOs and insurers are largely free to deny access to care without fear of reprisal or financial consequences.

** Explains why efforts to use health insurance cooperatives ("co-ops") as a vehicle to gut state consumer protection laws would be devastating to consumers and business owners. The Baucus plan would would open the door to deregulation of health insurance by allowing insurance companies that participate in "health care compacts" to choose the weakest state law to govern all their policies, regardless of which state the policies are sold in. The loss of state health benefit requirements could allow exclusion of preventive treatments and exams and prevent early diagnosis of disease, though apparently the state where the consumer lives would retain some authority to address market conduct, unfair trade practices, network adequacy and consumer protection standards.

Consumer Watchdog is a nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, D.C. and Santa Monica, CA. Find us on the web at: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org.


'/>"/>
SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Baucus Co-Op Plan Would Gut State Laws; Consumer Watchdog Report Calls for Prior Approval Rate Regulation in Health Reform, Not Deregulation of State Consumer Protection Laws
2. Senators Baucus and Grassley Statement Regarding Physician Hospitals Despicable
3. National Medical Association Applauds President Obamas and Senator Baucuss Efforts to Work With PhRMA to Bring Down Health Care Costs and Advance Meaningful Reforms
4. Senators Baucus and Tester Vote to Protect Americas Kids From Tobacco
5. Coalition Commends Senators Baucus, Grassley for Including Prevention, Wellness of Chronic Disease in Recent Paper on Coverage Policy Options
6. Rarely Used Closed Doors Slammed Again in U.S. Senate Health Care Reform; Sen. Max Baucus Must Publicly Answer 10 Questions About Mandatory Purchase of Health Insurance
7. Sen. Max Baucus: Answer 10 Questions About Mandatory Purchase of Health Insurance Including Why the Public Was Excluded From Todays Committee Meeting
8. President Obama, Sens. Kennedy & Baucus: Dont Buy Insurer Compromise for Bush-era Plan to Gut State Consumer Protection Laws
9. National Long Term Care Leaders Praise Overall Baucus Health Reform Effort, Express Specific Concerns Moving Forward
10. Statement From Larry Minnix, President & CEO, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging on the Release of Sen. Baucuss Health Care Reform Proposal
11. US Oncology Applauds Senator Baucuss Healthcare Reform Call to Action for 2009, Supports Collaborative Measures to Enhance Cancer Patients Access to Care While Improving Quality and Access
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:9/25/2017)... ... September 25, 2017 , ... Ron ... an option to senior, upper-level executives speaking at a business luncheon today, "It ... high-level executive is an asset to be fully realized and activated by the ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... ... September 25, 2017 , ... “Renew Refresh Restore Reward”: is a ... Reward” is the creation of published author, Deborah Freeman, cofounded the Free Spirit Bible ... we returned to our cars, my sister-in-law invited us to come over before the ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... September 25, 2017 - Orlando, FL, Microsoft Ignite Conference (PRWEB) , ... ... ... Hosts, Inc . announced today that they have teamed up to deliver Netmail’s Hadron ... on-demand service from a HIPAA/HITRUST compliant Azure Cloud. Netmail will be demo-ing their Hadron ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... ... ... Ash Borers kill Ash trees in as little as 1-3 years. The signs ... by Rob Nagy, ISA Certified Arborist at Giroud Tree and Lawn, shows a street in ... signs of decline from Emerald Ash Borers, two Ash trees continue to thrive. ...
(Date:9/24/2017)... & Caicos Islands, BWI (PRWEB) , ... September 25, 2017 , ... ... to announce the resort is re-opening on October 1st. And, throughout the month ... three bedroom oceanfront rentals. , Hurricane Irma and Maria have passed and damage ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/7/2017)...   BioLife Solutions , Inc. (NASDAQ: BLFS ... grade cell and tissue hypothermic storage and ... , President and CEO, will be presenting at two investment ... Renshaw 19 th Annual Global Investment Conference on Tuesday, ... time). The conference is being held at the New York ...
(Date:9/6/2017)... Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY ) ... and lasmiditan, two investigational treatments for migraine, at the ... place Sept. 7-10 in Vancouver . ... from an open-label study evaluating the safety and effectiveness ... mg) for the prevention of migraine. Galcanezumab is a ...
(Date:9/5/2017)... Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ORMP ) (TASE: ... on the development of oral drug delivery systems, announced ... the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding ORMD-0801, ... At the meeting, the FDA gave ... ORMD-0801, would be a Biologics License Application (BLA).  Such ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: