AirTalk for May 14, 2014

Should the state regulate Covered California health insurance premiums?

Anthem Blue Cross Rate Hike

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Then-Assembylman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, chair of the Assembly Health Committee, questions Leslie Margolin, president of Anthem Blue Cross, about rising premium costs during a hearing at the Capitol in Sacramento.

A November ballot initiative would allow California’s insurance commission to reject health insurance rate increases, regulating Covered California in the same way it does property, casualty, and auto insurance.

The measure, backed by Consumer Watchdog and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, would determine whether rates were reasonable and aims to protect consumers.

Opposition to the initiative has been fierce, and a study commissioned by Californians Against Higher Healthcare Costs (a group of doctors, hospitals, and health plans against the initiative) found that allowing the insurance commissioner to regulate Covered California would disrupt the healthcare overhaul. These critics argue that the ACA should be given time to take effect in California without interference, and that having two parties with regulating authority over health insurance premiums would result in chaos and consumer cost.

The Insurance Commissioner other backers say these claims are exaggerated. How would insurance commission-regulated health exchanges impact consumers? Who should have authority over Covered California rates?

Guests:

Dave Jones, California Insurance Commissioner

Dario Frommer, Former California Assembly Majority Leader (2004-2006) and chair of the Assembly Committee on Health; current partner with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Los Angeles. 

 


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