Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Health Care Costs Rear Their Ugly Head Again In MA

The June 28, 2010 Boston Globe reports that "Health care cost is back on table".

Now that the Massachusetts state government has imposed "universal care" on state residents, another round of wrangling has erupted over whether the government should or should not set a certain level of price controls for health insurance:
Health insurance costs are almost guaranteed to be in the news for some time. Three other insurers have also challenged the state's rejection of their proposed premium increases. Also, the Legislature may enact a law designed to curb rising health costs for small businesses and others before the legislative session ends next month.

The Senate last month passed a bill that would require wealthier hospitals to pay $100 million into a fund to provide premium relief for smaller businesses, which would be permitted to join cooperatives to buy insurance at a lower cost.

Another version, pending in the House, is based on a measure filed by Patrick in February. It would tie state approval of insurer rates and their contracts with hospitals and doctors to the Consumer Price Index for medical services.

On Thursday, a three-member panel of lawyers in the state Division of Insurance found that the rate increases sought by Harvard Pilgrim in April, averaging roughly 8 to 12 percent, were reasonable based on what the state's second-largest insurer pays hospitals and physicians. The decision overruled the administrative decision of the state insurance division, which rejected the premium increases for policies of small businesses and individual customers.
According to the article, this argument could affect the closely-watched Massachusetts governor's race.

And as similar ObamaCare legislation kicks into the rest of the US, we can expect similar arguments over costs, access, and government price controls to erupt nationwide.