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President Obama, Sens. Kennedy & Baucus: Don't Buy Insurer 'Compromise' for Bush-era Plan to Gut State Consumer Protection Laws
Date:5/11/2009

WASHINGTON, May 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- President Obama and U.S. Senate health care reform leaders must not override state consumer protection laws as suggested by health insurers last week, a move long-supported by insurers and the Bush Administration, said Consumer Watchdog in a letter to the president and senators. The hard-fought state laws enacted in nearly every state over the last 10 years were made necessary because Congress failed to enact Patients' Bill of Rights legislation.

Download Consumer Watchdog's letter here: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org/resources/ltrObamaKennedyBaucus.pdf

In the letter, Consumer Watchdog wrote:

"Federal regulation would be a boon to the industry, and has long been on the insurer's wish list because over the last decade almost every state has developed comprehensive patient protection laws that the insurers loathe.

"Insurers would like to take advantage of the moment of reform to eviscerate HMO Patients' Bill of Rights laws enacted in nearly every state and replace them with window-dressing federal rules that clear the way for the worst of the industry's practices."

The insurers' proposal was floated last Tuesday during the U.S. Senate Finance Committee by Karen Ignagni, CEO of the HMO and health insurer lobbying organization, America's Health Insurance Plans.

Consumer Watchdog called the insurers' proposal to kill the "public option" to private insurance coverage -- the reform that the industry hates most because of its value to consumers -- in exchange for new federal regulation of the industry a "false compromise."

In the letter, Consumer Watchdog wrote:

"Insurers are not conced
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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
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