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The 'Big 3' Fixes for the Weakened Senate Health Reform Bill to Block Full Insurance Co. Take-Over of Health System
Date:12/15/2009

Consumer Watchdog Calls For Preserving State Authority, Ban on Annual Benefit Limits, & Effective Rate Regulation

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumer Watchdog condemned the removal of the Medicare buy-in provision for those over 55 and the public option from the U.S. Senate health reform bill. But the group said that the Senate must still make three essential fixes to the greatly weakened bill to prevent ceding the entire health care system to the insurance industry.

Without the changes, said the consumer advocacy group, the legislation will fail even to provide basic consumer protections of cost containment, access to necessary care, and protection against bankruptcy when patients get sick and need coverage the most.

Consumer Watchdog said that it is essential that the bill be fixed now because there is a growing belief that a conference committee will be bypassed altogether, and instead the House of Representatives will be pushed to approve the Senate bill with no amendments. The three key fixes, detailed below, are:

1. Remove Provisions that Would Pre-empt More Protective State Laws

2. Bar Insurers From Placing Annual Limits on Medical Payments

3. Make Health Insurance Rate Regulation Real

"If health care reform is really about consumers and patients, then Senators must make these fixes before they pass the bill," said Jerry Flanagan, health policy director of Consumer Watchdog. "Current provisions of the Senate bill requiring Americans to buy insurance policies, while gutting state laws and ineffectively capping what insurers can charge for bare bones coverage, add up to a dream bill for insurance companies."

"Eliminating the public option, pre-empting state health benefit laws and avoiding tough rate oversight is an insurance company hat trick - the top three legislative goals of the insurance i
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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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