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Regence Supports Meaningful Health Reforms; Unveils Poll Saying Nation's Economic Woes Shouldn't Delay Reforms
Date:12/15/2008

PORTLAND, Ore., Dec. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Regence, the leading health insurer in the Pacific Northwest, announced today its support for the Obama administration and Congress' move toward meaningful, patient-centered health reforms.

Kicking off its effort, Regence released the findings of a national public opinion survey of 1,002 adults, helping bring the voice of the consumer into the emerging national discussion of health reform. The new survey revealed that, by a larger than two-to-one margin, Americans believe given the economic challenges the nation faces, it is more important than ever to take on health care reform as opposed to delaying tackling the issue.

"Regence is committed to working with policymakers and stakeholders for national reform of the broken health care system," said Mark Ganz, Regence president and CEO. "Economic turmoil has turned to personal turmoil, as many Americans who have lost their jobs have also lost their health insurance. We must come together as a nation to ensure that Americans have quality, affordable health care throughout their lives."

Because thousands of people have lost their employer-provided insurance, Regence said among its key concerns is improving the way individuals purchase health insurance -- that is, find and buy insurance policies on their own rather than get coverage through work. Regence's survey revealed that a third (34%) of Americans have experience with the individual market and that two-thirds of them (65%) had difficulty finding insurance they could afford. Moreover, 20 percent of them have been turned down due to their health or the health of a family member.

Regence has proposed ideas to help alleviate these hardships, and the survey showed majorities support these ideas, which would require congressional approval to work. Americans are especially enthusiastic about eliminating medical underwriting, setting a minimum basic stan
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