Three powerful Democratic members of Congress are calling on the Government Accountability Office to investigate federally funded high-risk pools that provide healthcare coverage to consumers who dont qualify for individual health insurance on the open market.
Reps. John Dingell of Michigan, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Henry Waxman of California, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform; and Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committees Health Subcommittee, sent a letter to GAO Comptroller General David Walker requesting an examination of whether these pools are meeting the needs of high-risk individuals.
In 2002, Congress allocated $40 million per year in grants for these state-run programs, with reauthorization in 2005 of $75 million annually. "Given the significant amount of federal dollars that have now been contributed to these state high-risk pools," the congressmen wrote, the GAO should look closely at enrollment, premiums, benefit packages and costs, as well as their effect on the private individual health-insurance market. -- by Rebecca Vesely
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