It’s time healthcare premiums are regulated by the state, writes Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton, referring to AB52, legislation proposed by Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and Assemblyman Mike Feuer that would require insurers to obtain regulatory approval before hiking health insurance rates. Health care cost rose 3.4 percent last year while proposed premium increases in California were up to 39 percent, notes Skelton. See “A Case for State Regulation,” http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-cap-insurance-20110502,0,3407855.column
The idea that California’s Department of Insurance should regulate health insurance premiums the same way it regulates auto and homeowner policies isn’t new. In fact, similar legislation sponsored by Jones last year when he was in the Assembly almost made it to the governor’s desk. Now, increased regulation is receiving renewed attention as insurers such as Anthem Blue Cross proceed with rate hikes that agencies such as the state’s Department of Managed Health Care determined are unreasonable.
Sate and federal officials up to and including President Obama can continue to denounce premium increases to no avail. Insurers aren’t listening. We agree with Skelton that it is time for the California Legislature to pass AB52.