House Bill Would Force Health Insurers To Share Rate Info With Congress, Since The White House Won’t

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Virginia Congressman Morgan Griffith has introduced a bill before the House of Representatives that, if it becomes law, would mandate that health insurers share with Congress the same information they share with the White House about annual rate adjustments before they take effect.

Griffith, a Republican, introduced the so-called Insurance Rate Transparency Act on Friday, commenting on his Congressional website the bill is squarely aimed at the Obama Administration’s reticence in sharing with Congress – and, by extension, the public – what it knows about how the Affordable Care Act affects projected premium increases for consumers.

While campaigning in 2007, now-President Obama said “I have made a solemn pledge that I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family’s premiums by up to $2,500 a year.”

Thus far, Obamacare has seemingly failed to fulfill the President’s promise. And some of the nation’s largest health insurance providers were unable to confirm such a reduction under Obamacare when I recently asked them about that promise at a Committee hearing.

At this hearing, the insurance providers indicated that their rates would be filed with the Department of Health and Human Services and various states by the end of June. Since the Administration has delayed open enrollment until after the 2014 elections, many Americans simply will not know what premium increases they will face in the exchanges. The Insurance Rate Transparency Act would ensure that the American people are not kept in the dark for political reasons.

Here’s a video of Griffith questioning insurers at a May 7 hearing about which way rates are heading under Obamacare:

Currently, insurers are only required to “submit their rates to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and certain states – including the Commonwealth of Virginia – so that any rate changes and increases in premiums can be reviewed and certified,” Griffith observed. Under his proposal, however, HHS would have 30 days after it had received that information to hand it over to Congress.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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