Medicine should be about providing quality care to those in need.
We must encourage medical research because each new development holds the possibility of saving thousands, if not millions, of lives. In particular, stem cell research provides a real opportunity to develop cures for debilitating diseases – such as cancer, Parkinson’s and diabetes.
As co-chair of the Senate Cancer Coalition, Senator Feinstein has worked to increase funding for cancer research and develop a new treatment strategy to achieve our goal of eliminating cancer death and suffering. Additionally, she is working to reduce the mortality caused by lung cancer.
Senator Feinstein is committed to finding and enacting meaningful reforms to expand access to the health care system for the nearly seven million Californians without adequate health insurance. Among other things, we must develop a solution to maintain our vital entitlement programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
She continues to fight to protect our nation’s children from potentially toxic chemicals, and to ensure Californians can afford health insurance.
Insurance Company Profits
The cost of health insurance continues to rise, all while insurance companies enjoy unprecedented profits. In the first quarter of 2011, the five largest for-profit health insurance companies recorded a net profit of $3.9 billion – an average 16 percent increase from the same period the year before.
Meanwhile, large insurance companies now insure 2.8 million fewer Americans than they did on December 31, 2008. An estimated 59 million Americans were uninsured in the first quarter of 2010.
All the while, insurance companies have been reducing the amount they spend on actual health care. As profits and CEO pay increased, the amount of money insurers spent on medical care went down.
The health reform law takes critical first steps to help control premium increases and ensures that companies spend more on medical care, not profits. However, the law does not grant explicit authority to block or modify egregious rate increases.
Health Insurance Rate Review Act
Senator Feinstein, along with Representative Jan Schakowsky in the House of Representatives, have reintroduced the Health Insurance Rate Review Act of 2011 to close this loophole.
This bill creates a federal fallback rate review process that grants the Secretary of Health and Human Services authority to block or modify rate increases that are excessive, unjustified, or unfairly discriminatory.
Today, in an estimated 17 states, including California, state regulators do not have this authority.
This legislation is a simple, common sense solution. In states where the appropriate state regulator does not have authority to block unfair rate increases, the Secretary of Health and Human Services can do so.
Insurance premiums make up a higher percentage of household income than ever before, meaning that more and more families have to choose between health care and daily living expenses, saving for retirement, and education.
This is not a choice American families should have to make, and something must be done.
Health Insurance Rates in California
Everyone is familiar with the increases that Anthem/Blue Cross was set to impose—as much as 39 percent—for 800,000 policy-holders in California.
Anthem wasn’t an aberration. Insurance companies in California continue to propose 30, 40 even 80 percent cumulative premium increases. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revealed that Anthem wasn’t alone. Health insurance companies across the country have requested dramatic premium rate increases over the past year – by up to 56 percent in Michigan, 24 percent in Connecticut and 23 percent in Maine – and will likely continue to do so in the future.
California has a very strong Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones, who has been proactive to protect hundreds of thousands of Californians from unjustified rate increases.
But the bottom line is that he does not today have the authority to block unjustified rate hikes.
Without action, policyholders face the possibility of continued rate increases between now and 2014 when the Exchanges are put in place. Senator Feinstein will continue working to make sure health insurance companies cannot continue to jack up premiums on policyholders.
- Protecting California Families from unreasonable insurance rates.
- Protecting children from dangerous chemicals.
- Ensuring women maintain choice in health care.
- Enacting a new battle plan for lung cancer to coordinate efforts to fight this terrible disease.
- Passing a federal ban on human reproductive cloning while protecting important medical research and increasing the number of stem cell lines available for federal funding.
- Providing the Secretary of Health and Human Services with the authority to negotiate prescription drug prices for Medicare seniors.
- Allowing for the re-importation of qualified prescription drugs from registered and approved importers in Canada.
- Increasing funding for biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health.
- Improving the safety of online pharmacies by prohibiting the sale of controlled substances and prescription drugs over the internet without a valid prescription.
- Helped gain attention on the national level to the toxic chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) and it’s potentially dangerous health effects
- Sponsored legislation creating the Breast Cancer Research Stamp, which has raised over $73 million for breast cancer research programs.
- Supported passage of the Medicare prescription drug program, and continue to work to ensure the program is compatible with the needs of all Medicare beneficiaries.
- Strongly supported passage of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005.
|2/7/06||On the Motion to Proceed to S. 852, the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution (FAIR) Act|
|2/7/06||Senators Feinstein, Boxer Urge Bush Administration to Reimburse California for Medicare Drug Costs|
|1/19/06||Lawmakers Announce Bipartisan Emergency Legislation To Reimburse States for Medicare Prescription Costs|
|1/13/06||Citing Health Emergency, Senator Feinstein Urges Bush Administration to Solve Medicare Drug Foul-ups|