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Cost of Massachusetts Health Insurance Mandate to Rise 85% -- $400 Mil -- in '09; CA Mandate Proposal Certain to Face Similar Increases
Date:1/24/2008

Also, Big Pharma Gives $400K to Prop 93, Drops Opposition to Schwarzenegger/Nunez Health Bill After Plan Change

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A projected 85% increase in the cost of Massachusetts' mandatory health insurance law by 2009 should send up red flags that a similar California plan is also insufficiently funded, said the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR). Massachusetts costs will increase by approximately $400 million primarily because the state underestimated the number of new enrollees in state-subsidized insurance plans, the Boston Globe reported today.

California mandatory purchase legislation eliminated another opponent, the pharmaceutical industry, prior to a committee hearing in the state Senate yesterday. The companies dropped their opposition in response to an amendment that drastically weakens the bill's original mechanism for reducing drug costs, according to FTCR. At the same time, the drug companies' lobbying arm contributed $400,000 to Proposition 93 on Tuesday, the ballot initiative that would extend the terms of Senate pro Tem Don Perata and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez. The companies' new concern is being cut out of the benefit package, necessary according to the Legislative Analyst to hold down costs.

"Drug companies got the language they didn't like out of the healthcare bill and thanked the Speaker with $400,000 towards his term limits extension initiative," said Jerry Flanagan of FTCR. "This is more evidence that the healthcare bill is more about protecting politicians' power than California patients."

California's Legislative Analyst issued a warning that cost estimates in California are inadequate in testimony to the Senate committee, suggesting that proponents' estimate of the number of uninsured is too low. She also projected a $4 billion deficit in health plan financing in just five years if insurance premiums are just $50 a month more exp
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SOURCE Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights
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