How much merit is there to 11th-hour insurance industry claims that the health reform bill scheduled for a vote in the Senate Finance Committee this week would raise insurance premiums? And how big a problem is it that the industry, which had generally been cooperative in the reform effort, is now lashing out?
America's Health Insurance Plans Sunday created a stir when it released a report commissioned from PriceWaterhouse Coopers that pointed to four provisions in the Finance Committee bill as potentially increasing private insurance costs for individuals, families and businesses above what their costs would be minus reform. With the enactment of four specific provisions, the cost of coverage would increase by 111 percent, according to the report. The problems, it says, are "insurance market reforms coupled with a weak coverage requirement, a new tax on high-cost health care plans, cost-shifting as a result of cuts to Medicare, and new taxes on several health care sectors."
With these provisions in place, would health insurers still benefit from reform?