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Opposition Continues to Grow to Blues' Legislation
Date:12/2/2008

LANSING, Mich., Dec. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Seniors, disabled Michiganders, state HMOs and health insurance companies gathered today to oppose efforts by Blue Cross to jam anti-consumer, anti-business legislation through the lame duck session of the Legislature.

"This could be a matter of life or death for many of us in Michigan," said RoAnne Chaney, Health Policy Manager for the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition. "A vote for this bill is a vote to dramatically raise health prices for thousands of Michigan families, many who are least able to pay - and we know already that two people die each day in Michigan because they don't have health insurance. That number will rise if this bill passes."

The current drafts of HB 5282 and 5283, proposed by Rep. Marc Corriveau, D-Northville, will allow Blue Cross to raise rates on insurance it sells to individuals by 40 percent without any oversight by the Attorney General or state regulators. The Blues-backed bills would let the company raise its Medicare Supplement rates by 75 percent. And it would allow the Blues to create a special pool, or band, allowing it to charge 300 percent more to seniors and those with disabilities than other individuals it insures.

Mary Ablan, executive director of the Area Agencies on Aging Association of Michigan said the proposal by Blue Cross to toss thousands of families into a high rate "pool" or "band" will be catastrophic for many. "We are shocked that some lawmakers are willing to support the Corriveau bills at the expense of seniors and those with serious health problems! President-elect Obama has said he wants to make insurance more available to families - this bill moves in exactly the opposite direction."

Amy Tripp, chair of the Elder Law and Disability Rights Section, State Bar of Michigan, said that the bills will make it harder for returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to get benefits. Tripp also said
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SOURCE Michigan Disability Rights Coalition
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