Friday, October 16, 2009


Insurance companies have another made-to-order report saying that the Senate Finance Committee's health bill would drive up health cost, says the Wall Street Journal.  The logic is pretty simple: If lots of sick people sign up for insurance, while many healthy people take their chances on going uncovered, the price tag on a health-insurance policy is going to rise sharply.

That was the scenario outlined in a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers released Monday by America's Health Insurance Plans, the leading industry trade group.  Now the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is hawking its own report by Oliver Wyman, a consulting firm that is part of Marsh & McLennan Cos.:
  • The Oliver Wyman report says that unless the Senate beefs up the proposed mandate on Americans to carry insurance, average annual medical claims five years after the overhaul takes effect would be 50 percent higher than today, not accounting for medical inflation. 
  • That would increase the premiums for family coverage by $3,300 in today's dollars, it says.
The latest report isn't likely to get any friendlier reception among Democrats than the first one, which Democratic senators denounced for what they described as faulty assumptions.  In fact, the pressure among some senators, including the all-important Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) is for an even more lenient individual mandate.  Critics of the strong mandate sought by insurers say it isn't fair to make people buy insurance they can't afford.

Source: Peter Landers, "Another Insurer's Report Warns About Cost of Senate Health Bill," Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2009.