FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 22, 2012
Statement by Californians Against Higher Health Care Costs on ANNOUNCEMENT BY HHS Secretary Sebelius
SACRAMENTO – Fiona Hutton, Campaign Spokesperson, today issued the following statement on behalf of Californians Against Higher Health Care Costs, the coalition of physician groups, doctors, hospitals, health care providers, small businesses and others opposed to the health insurance rate regulation ballot initiative being proposed by special interest backed Consumer Watchdog for the November 2012 statewide election, in response to the report released today by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius regarding health insurance rates:
The announcement and report issued by Secretary Sebelius stated “six months after HHS began reviewing proposed health insurance rate increases, consumers are already seeing results” and “that states like California, New York, Oregon, and many others, have proactively lowered rate increases for their residents.”
“The Secretary’s report clearly demonstrates that the existing state and federal rate review laws are having a discernible impact on health insurance rates and protecting consumers in California,” said Fiona Hutton. “At a time the state faces chronic budget deficits and can’t fund critical services, the last thing we need is a new duplicative and costly government bureaucracy like the one being pushed by the self-interested Consumer Watchdog and the plaintiffs’ attorneys who support them. And while the cost of health care remains an issue, the ill-conceived initiative does nothing to address the underlying costs that are driving health insurance premiums.”
The flawed measure written by Consumer Watchdog will add layers of regulation to health care on top of existing federal and state regulations, create a costly new bureaucracy, and give ONE politician nearly total control over health care coverage and prices, ultimately leading to higher rates and less access to care for consumers.
Attempts to enact similar legislation have already failed in the Legislature four times in the last four years – because the misguided policy is bad for consumers. Now, Consumer Watchdog, a trial lawyer funded special interest group, is making a last ditch effort to use the initiative process to open up health insurance to the same scheme that has allowed Consumer Watchdog and trial lawyers to make millions of dollars off of auto and homeowners insurance.
In 2011, doctors, hospitals, physician groups, employers and more than 100 groups opposed a nearly identical legislative proposal to the proposed initiative because it would increase the cost of health insurance and have devastating impacts on patients’ access to quality care.
Early opponents of the proposed initiative include the California Medical Association, California Hospital Association, California Association of Physician Groups, California Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Action Committee, California Association of Health Plans and Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies.
For more information, visit www.StopHigherCosts.com.