US & World

Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein react to Anthem Blue Cross rate jump

US Capital building in the snow on February 9, 2010.
US Capital building in the snow on February 9, 2010.
Kitty Felde/KPCC

The White House has stepped into the debate over a spike in health insurance premiums at Anthem Blue Cross. Federal Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent an open letter yesterday that asked why some individual policies went up by 39 percent; she described the increase as “extraordinary.”

Both California’s senators have offered suggestions about what to do about the jump in Anthem’s premiums.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., says state officials should hasten to fight the fast-rising premiums.

She says state law is "pretty clear on this."

She's written to California Attorney General Jerry Brown asking him to pursue an investigation "to stop them from doing what they did because the state has pretty good consumer protections."

"And if they need the federal government’s help, then I think we should help them."

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is urging state lawmakers to put health insurance under the supervision of one person: the state’s insurance commissioner. Right now, two agencies regulate health insurance in California. Feinstein calls the rate rise “unconscionable” - and an example of why Congress needs to strip the insurance industry’s anti trust protection.