Using the WellPoint breast cancer rescission news as her jumping off point, Sen. Dianne Feinstein argues for further legislation to hem in insurers.
Time and time again, our for-profit insurance corporations have demonstrated that their hunger for profit trumps any moral obligation to their customers. This new story is just the latest example of the kind of outrageous behavior we have come to expect from certain health insurance companies.
The health insurance reform law passed by Congress and signed by President Obama will end the practice of unfair rescission and discrimination because of preexisting conditions. But we must clearly be vigilant in order to ensure that the law has teeth and is heavily enforced.
We cannot turn our backs for one minute because, left to their own devices, I truly believe these companies will look for ways to throw paying customers to the sharks for the sake of profit. A situation currently unfolding in California is further proof of this.
On May 1 -- one week from Saturday -- more than 800,000 Californians who hold insurance policies issued by WellPoint's Anthem Blue Cross subsidiary will face rate hikes of up to 39 percent....
In order to prevent these kinds of unfair premium rate hikes on Americans, I have introduced a bill that would establish a health insurance rate authority. It would give the Secretary of Health the mandate to see that rates are reasonable....
I will likely offer my bill as an amendment to the financial regulatory reform legislation. The matter has already had a hearing in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Urgent action is necessary because 800,000 people face these rate increases a week from Saturday.
Feinstein isn't the only one pushing federal regulation of rates. Harkin held a hearing on the issue this week, and intends to push the legislation as a stand alone bill, if it isn't passed as an amendment to another bill.
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