Sunday, December 20, 2009

AHIP Statement On Senate Health Care Reform Legislation

/PRNewswire/ -- Karen Ignagni, President and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), released the following statement today on the Senate health care reform legislation:

"The debate before us today is not whether insurance market reforms are needed. In fact, health plans proposed and support a complete overhaul of insurance market rules and new consumer protections to ensure all Americans have guaranteed access to affordable, portable coverage. The critical policy questions are whether the current legislation can bend the cost curve and result in a sustainable system. While the bill makes important improvements in access and takes steps towards cost-containment, it lacks accountability to ensure that costs are brought under control. Moreover, this bill includes provisions that will increase costs for families and small businesses and disrupt the quality coverage on which millions of Americans rely today."

Barriers to affordability:

-- A new $70 billion premium tax that will increase the cost of health
care coverage for millions of Americans and fall primarily on small
businesses and those who purchase coverage in the individual market.
-- More cost shifting to patients with private coverage as providers are
forced to make up for hundreds of billions in reduced Medicare
-- New market and rating rules that will increase premiums for
individuals and small businesses with coverage today.

Disruptions for current policyholders:

-- New regulatory requirements and benefit mandates that go into effect
beginning next year - before access provisions go into effect - that
will cause major disruption for millions who have already enrolled in
their plan for next year.
-- A new federal plan that would preclude many high-quality plans from
participating and increase complexity in the exchanges.
-- Arbitrary caps on administrative costs that will undermine essential
health care services, such as disease management and care coordination
programs, investments in health information technology, programs to
root out fraud and abuse in the health care system, and new
administrative simplification requirements.
-- Major cuts in Medicare Advantage benefits beginning next year that
will ultimately result in millions of seniors losing their current

"These issues need to be resolved if the country is to make health care coverage more affordable and put the system on a sustainable path. Health plans will continue to work to solve the problems that have been identified."

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