PATIENTS’ RIGHTS: Proposals Could Increase Uninsured
Congressional Budget Office Director Dan Crippen told a House subcommittee Friday that provisions in several managed care reform bills pending before Congress could raise premiums and thus lead to an increase in the uninsured population. He noted, however, that the actual impact of such legislation on insurance rates could only be determined by analyzing the various plans. Also, he said other factors, such as "new technology, use of prescription drugs and changes in medical practice," must be taken into account. Crippen said, "In general, higher premiums are likely to result in some loss of coverage. ... One should be cautious, however, about applying a single rule of thumb to assess the effects on coverage of changes in premiums that arise from different sources." Crippen's remarks came before the House Education and the Workforce employer-employee relations subcommittee, whose chair, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), introduced a comprehensive managed care reform bill last week. The panel plans to mark up the bill this week. Noting that health care reform must be hashed out in the context of cost control, Boehner said, "With premiums on the rise and the number of uninsured at 43 million and rising, we have no choice but to consider these problems in tandem: patient protections on one hand, cost and coverage on the other." Ranking member Robert Andrews (D-NJ) said he was pleased the panel is "taking a lead and finally legislating" (Wegner/Werber Serafini, CongressDaily, 6/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.