Fight heats up in Calif. to regulate health care premiums

June 29, 2011 6:34:02 PM PDT
There has been plenty of controversy over rising health care premiums in California. In Sacramento, that debate really heated up on Wednesday over a bill to let regulators control the rates we all pay.

The state Senate heard opposing arguments over a bill to control your health insurance rates. Right now, regulators cannot stop insurance companies from raising premiums, they can only give their opinion.

The new bill would let regulators regulate by saying no to unreasonable rate hikes. Consumer advocates and insurance companies are squaring off over the bill.

"Premiums stay low when health insurance companies are accountable to an insurance department," said Jamie Court from Consumer Watchdog.

"Further rate regulation does nothing to address the cost drivers, in fact it adds an expensive bureaucratic layer of review," said Patrick Johnston from the California Association of Health Plans.

The state Assembly already approved the bill. The Senate's health committee will vote next week.

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