All posts tagged: Health insurance

Insurance Rate Public Justification & Accountability Act

The Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act would: Give the insurance commissioner the authority to reject excessive rate increases for individual and small group health insurance. Require health insurance companies to publicly disclose and justify, under penalty of perjury, proposed rate changes before they take effect. Make every document filed by an insurance company to justify a rate increase a public record. Allow Californians to challenge unjustified premium rate increases. Why Californians need public justification of health insurance rates Today, there is no transparency in how health insurance companies set prices and premium rates. California’s health insurance companies set premiums in secrecy, handpick the people who check their math, and then expect consumers to trust that rates have been set fairly. If a rate filing is excessive or unjustified, no one has the power to require insurance companies to undergo a public review. More importantly, no one – not even the state’s insurance commissioner – can reject excessive or unjustified rate increases. The proposed ballot measure would create a public review process and would …

Brian Schweitzer

Montana Experiment Brings NHS-Style Health Care to USA; Saves State Millions, Patients Delighted

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer has pledged his support for single-payer health care in the past, but his recent efforts to bring zero-cost sharing primary and preventive care to Montana government employees and retirees may be doing something that most progressives would only dream could happen in America: bringing NHS-style, socialized medicine to Montana. This is a big deal and — while currently limited to state employees and retirees — could be laying the groundwork for America’s most socially-just health care system. NPR has the details: A year ago, Montana opened the nation’s first clinic for free primary healthcare services to its state government employees. The Helena, Mont., clinic was pitched as a way to improve overall employee health, but the idea has faced its fair share of political opposition. A year later, the state says the clinic is already saving money. Pamela Weitz, a 61-year-old state library technician, was skeptical about the place at first. “I thought it was just the goofiest idea, but you know, it’s really good,” she says. In the last year, …

Healthcare – Right or Privilege?

Is healthcare a right or a privilege? The answer varies by country. In most of the world it is a right accorded to all residents as part of their social safety net. However, in the United States it is a privilege accorded to the more fortunate – those who have private health insurance, seniors over 65 who have Medicare and Medicaid for a small percentage of low income individuals. For those not falling into one of those categories they are “on their own.” This generally means neglecting medical conditions in the early stages when they are more easily treatable. It often leads to expensive trips to the emergency room when the condition becomes acute and where only the symptoms can be treated without a provision for follow-on care. Medical bills are the major reason for bankruptcy in the United States. Without health insurance many citizens are forced to pay out of pocket for expensive for-profit medical treatment. This has been exacerbated by the housing crisis. Unscrupulous lenders convinced people to borrow against the equity in …