Today’s Los Angeles Times has a page one story about Anthem Blue Cross for a proposed 18 percent rate increase for health insurance that should raise the cackles of our conservative friends who whine about any increase in sales taxes. For a company that posted profits of more than $2.2 billion last year and $2.6 billion in 2010, the massive increase when inflation for healthcare costs is flat is puzzling.
Santa Ana Congresswomna Loretta Sanchez is furious and she issued this statement below:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-47) today sharply criticized California health insurer Anthem Blue Cross for its proposal to raise the cost of health insurance for more than half a million policyholders, by 18% on average.
“I am shocked and outraged by Anthem Blue Cross’ decision to seek yet another drastic and unnecessary rate increase,” said Sanchez. “Just as California families are beginning to recover from the economic hardships our country has faced, Anthem Blue Cross is pushing them back down into the very recession my Democratic colleagues and I have worked so hard to bring them out of. Californians are struggling to pay for their current health insurance premiums, not to mention their mortgages and education. This decision by Anthem Blue Cross is especially frustrating given the abundance of funding cuts recently made to the federal programs that have, in past years, helped to cover the gap between the health care that our families can afford and what they actually have to pay. An increase in insurance premiums of, on average 18%, is unwarranted and excessive – I urge Anthem Blue Cross to reexamine this decision.”
Over the past two years, Anthem Blue Cross has tried and failed to raise rates as much as 39% for about 700,000 California customers. These types of abusive rate increases were one of the reasons why Democrats fought for health care reform. Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies are required to publicly report the percentage of total premium revenue that is used for actual health care services for beneficiaries.
The Affordable Care Act also holds health insurance companies accountable for unjustified premium increases. These provisions will protect Americans from the kinds of outrageous premium rate increases that Blue Shield of California is attempting to implement.
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is proud to represent California’s 47th Congressional District, which includes the cities of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and parts of Fullerton in Orange County. She serves as Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces and a senior member of the Committee on Homeland Security. Rep. Sanchez is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and sits on the bipartisan, bicameral Joint Economic Committee.