Congressional Democrats appear to be cracking down further on insurance companies with a supplementary amendment to the House health reform legislation.
Lawmakers seek additional curbs on insurers
Under the amendment, insurance companies would have to publicly disclose any justification for premium increases before they go into effect. The new language would also provide $1 billion in new resources to states to rein in “price-gouging” by insurance companies, and expands on a provision that would repeal the insurance companies' anti-trust exemption.
The document, known as a “manager's amendment,” seeks to tie up loose ends in the legislation before it's considered on the House floor later this week.
Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for American's Health Insurance Plans, said that health plans in every state already provide actuarial justification for any increases in premiums. “If the goal is to make healthcare coverage more affordable, policymakers need to address the underlying cost of medical care, which is the key driver of rising healthcare costs,” he said in an e-mail.
The amendment would also exempt certain physician-owned hospitals—those that care for a higher share of Medicaid patients than their local competitors—from the bill's proposed restrictions on these types of hospitals.
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