Insurers Change Course, Attack Health Care Reform, Predict Huge Premium Increases
Insurers who backed Democratic attempts to reform the health care system in America are now attacking the Senate Finance Committee bill, saying it would cause premiums to increase.
The Associated Press reports: "Late Sunday, the industry trade group America's Health Insurance Plans sent its member companies a new accounting firm study that projects the legislation would add $1,700 a year to the cost of family coverage in 2013, when most of the major provisions in the bill would be in effect."
For single people, premiums would increase $600 more than without health care reform legislation. In 2019, the insurance companies say family premiums could be $4,000 higher. The Senate Finance Committee votes tomorrow on the bill (Alonso-Zaldivar, 10/12).
The Washington Post: "Industry officials said they intend to circulate the report prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers on Capitol Hill and promote it in new advertisements. That could complicate Democratic hopes for action on the legislation this week." The insurers say premiums could increase cumulatively between 2010 and 2019 about $20,700 for a typical family under the reform instead of keeping the current system. Democrats assailed the report for not taking into account cost-saving measures like a $25 billion reinsurance fund to keep the industry from heavy losses incurred if pools of patients are more unhealthy - and need more care - than healthy (Connolly, 10/12).
The New York Times: "Scott Mulhauser, a spokesman for Democrats on the Finance Committee, said: 'This report is untrue, disingenuous and bought and paid for by the same health insurance companies that have been gouging consumers for too long. Now that health care reform grows ever closer, these health insurers are breaking out the same tired playbook of deception. It's a health insurance company hatchet job.'" The study says the new costs would also come from new fees on insurers, an excise tax on high-cost insurance plans and cuts to the growth of Medicare, which could force doctors to charge more to private insurers (Pear, 10/12).
Politico has the complete, 26-page study and reports that one of its main tenets is that the "overall impact of these provisions will be to increase the cost of private insurance coverage for individuals, families, and businesses above what these costs would be in the absence of reform" (Budoff Brown, 10/11).