39% Rate Hike by Anthem-Blue Cross Persuaded CA Senator that Consumers need Choice of a Public Plan
Updated February 19, 2010 (Washington D.C.) – Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) has joined with 16 other Senators to urge that Majority Leader Harry Reid pass a public option for health insurance using reconciliation, a parliamentary procedure that allows a simple up-or-down vote with a majority of 51 Senators.
“There are four fundamental reasons why we support this approach,” the Senators wrote in their letter. “Its potential for billions of dollars in cost savings; the growing need to increase competition and lower costs for the consumer; the history of using reconciliation for significant pieces of health care legislation; and the continued public support for a public option."
Huffington Post reports today that Feinstein decided to join with progressive lawmakers to support the proposal because the largest insurer in California, Anthem Blue Cross, was raising premiums on its customers by as much as 39 percent played a role in her decision.
"I can think of no better example of why we need health insurance reform," she said of the rate-hike news, "and this kind of behavior is a stark reminder of why any reform plan should establish a rate authority to keep insurance rates affordable.”
If approved, the public option would give people a choice between their existing healthcare coverage, or a government-run public option.
California's other Senator, Democrat Barbara Boxer, has not yet signed the letter.