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Industry Group Warns Senate Healthcare Reform Will Raise Costs

October 13, 2009 by  

Industry group warns Senate healthcare reform will raise costs In the final days before the Senate Finance Committee’s vote on its healthcare reform proposal, the group America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) has issued a report saying insurance premiums will increase if the proposal is passed.

According to AHIP, which is an industry lobby group, premiums for the typical American family would increase by $4,000 during the next 10 years, while those for individuals would rise by $1,500.

The reason for that is that the plan does not do enough to require individuals to purchase coverage and imposes a tax on high-cost plans, it says.

The White House blasted the report saying it was "self-serving" and accused the insurance industry of trying to obstruct the reform, which will reduce its profits.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office has said that imposing limits on medical malpractice lawsuits could save $54 billion over the next decade. It published a report which estimates that caps on jury awards of $500,000 for punitive damages and $250,000 for "pain and suffering" would lower insurance premiums by about 10 percent.

However, the report came under criticism from congressional Democrats, with Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey telling CNN, "I don’t think the way to go is to limit the rights of Americans who are injured by negligent or intentional conduct."

He added that caps on damages are "insulting to our system of justice."

The committee is expected to vote on Tuesday on the plan which mandates coverage for everyone but does not include provisions for a government-run insurance option.
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