House Democrats Ask To Examine Health Insurers’ Finances
House Democrats examine pay and profit for health insurers as health insurance stocks dip lower than market.
Bloomberg reports: "House Democrats asked the nation's biggest health insurers to provide details on executive pay, spending on entertainment, and other financial records, a move that an industry spokesman denounced as an intimidation tactic. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Representative Bart Stupak, chairman of the panel's oversight committee, sent a letter to 52 insurance companies, including Hartford, Connecticut-based Aetna Inc., Louisville, Kentucky-based Humana Inc. and Philadelphia-based Cigna Corp. In a separate letter, Representatives John Dingell and Sander Levin, both Michigan Democrats, today asked Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to explain a series of rate increases the company announced last week."
"A spokesman for the Washington-based industry group, America's Health Insurance Plans, criticized the Waxman letter. ... The Obama administration has proposed financing its overhaul of the nation's health-care system in part by cutting federal subsidies to insurers participating in the Medicare Advantage program by $175 billion over the next 10 years" (Woellert and Faler, 8/19).
The Associated Press reports: "Managed care stocks dipped slightly lower than the overall market Wednesday, after insurers received more bad publicity with letters from Congress asking for executive compensation details and other financial information. Several stocks fell around 1 percent while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed slightly. Wednesday's performance followed a managed care rally on Monday, after statements from the Obama administration downplayed the possibility of a government-backed public health plan that many investors fear would provide unfair competition to private health insurers. .. The stocks have gone through several volatile periods since the health care reform overhaul debate started taking shape earlier this year" (Murphy, 8/19).