(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Affordable Care Act gives states the power to review rates when insurers hike premiums by 10 percent or more. But that doesn’t mean they have the authority to stop those hikes — and the state says its hands are tied. So what does this mean for future premiums? What other changes can Californians expect to see with the health reform law, and what can they do in response?

Guests:
Dave Jones, insurance commissioner for the state of California

  • Slappy

    How are we supposed to know how this bill will affect us when the stupid thing is over a thousand pages? There are very few of us that have the time to read a hundred pages of it, let alone a thousand. I say reject the bill until Congress comes up with something more streamlined, more efficient, and less wasteful. I mean cmon, the thing is supposed to cost our country almost a trillion dollars? We’re broke. 

    • Mark, SF

       You mean like single payer insurance. One insurance doesn’t mean socialized or National Health Care. Doctors Hospitals, Drug Companies can still compete. Insurance of any kind is socialized risk reduction.

    • For some reason after seeing this question, reading the 1000 page bill would probably answer your question. And it’s not like you’re reading a  novel. You could skip through pages quite easily. If this is something you don’t want to do, you can’t blame others because you don’t know what’s in it.

      • Slappy

        I spent some time reading the pre-signed bill (2010). Since I’m about to graduate from university, I have no time to read the updated version. That said, there is a problem with your logic: it would be utterly careless to skip over pages “quite easily.” How do think pork gets passed in Congress time after time? How do you think our country has wasted billions and billions of dollars on unnecessary expenditures?

        You should be aware of one frightening section in the bill, the one that requires budding doctors to practice for two years in a clinic located within one of the many ghettos in our country. Anyone smart enough to become a doctor will not be foolish enough to subject them self to such masochism. They’ve already lost 11 years of their lives studying away. Why would they sacrifice two more in favor of working in even WORSE conditions? I guarantee you that this provision in the bill will deter future enrollment in the medical field. This will, in turn, lead to a shortage of doctors which, in turn, will lead to poor health care in the future. 

        If you don’t believe me, look it up in one of the sections you skipped. While you’re at it, look for the provision that allows the government to come into the home and tell parents how to raise their kids, and let me know if that’s still in there.

  • UbuntuMadeByPentagon

    In a corporatist system, they obscure the nasty stuff by making the writing of it too voluminous to analyze.

    A similar thing has happened with open source software. There are no doubt numerous NSA backdoors in Linux because no one can check all the code.

  • Mark, SF

    The republican says people need jobs so that they can spend money in response to demand being what drives the need for new jobs. One big problem in this chicken and egg problem is the accumulation of by a small number of people and by corporations. They can’t spend all that money or fast enough. The economy grinds to a halt.

  • Mark, SF

    When there is an emergency, there are laws against businesses gouging customers. Health Insurance is a monopoly to some extent because it is not easy to switch plans. It is one of few industries where it can pick it’s customer and not the customer pick it. Customer choice is what drives competition, better services, and better prices. You don’t have that in health insurance.

    • Slappy

      That’s a good point; one can draw a similar conclusion with the wireless telecommunications companies (AT&T, Verizon, etc).

  • geofrost

    How does the federal antitrust exemption affect the Insurance Commissioner’s ability to police anticompetitive oligopolistic behavior?  Are these insurers allowed to fix rates and divide makets with impunity?

  • ggroxie

    Thanks for this program. I’ve been following closely the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in California, by reading about it on the HBEX web site, by attending monthly Board meetings in Sacramento, and by speaking directly with some of the individuals tasked with the implementation of its various programs.  There is a HUGE TRUTH GAP between what the law will do vs. what people THINK the law will do, due to truly bad reporting about this law in much of the media. Yes, this law is very big and complex. This is the biggest change to our healthcare system since medicare, so it follows reasonably that the law is sweeping. Just because a law is long and complex does not mean it should be thrown out. Simple laws do not always translate into good policy. And sure, there are aspects of this law that are lacking, but the oversights I notice are due to the compromising away that happened during its drafting with the stakeholders (health insurance and pharma industries, mostly). I am certain that, as we progress with this implementation and experience the effects of those aspects of the law that were awarded to corporate interests, we will change those oversights/gaps. Rather than being a problem, this is how a large, complex, diverse, open society moves forward. I am particularly interested in what is called the SHOP program, which is the small business/employer program that is often used by opponents of the ACA to instill fear in the public. You have to be completely ignorant about SHOP in order to say that it will be a problem for small business owners. I implore radio hosts to become better-versed in what SHOP will/will not do, as it is implemented, so that the next time someone is a featured guest on your show, or calls into your show expressing the misinformation about its impact on small business, you won’t be left simply allowing those POVs that are based on misperceptions to represent balance on your shows. We need to call out their factually inaccurate attacks. Thanks. I will continue to follow the good work of the California HBEX, and am proud to have fought for passage of this law, even though it is not exactly what I would have wanted. Unlike our current crop of radical legislators in Washington who think that their compromising with others in our country will be the destruction of America as we know it, to use THEIR ridiculous rhetoric, I believe that compromise is an essential part of moving forward.

  • Maria

    How is it that different “approved” providers in the same geographical area can charge different prices for the same item, i.e. for durable equipment?  How is it also that they can bill twice as much for an item than what it can be purchased for in the open market..i.e. supply cost billed at 50.00 to insurance, costs 18.99 on open market….thank you.

  • Stan

    Health insurance would improve immeasurably if there was greater transparency for the consumer, not greater government intervention with mandates, etc.  WalMart and Amazon have been revolutionary in reducing prices for the products they sell.  Government intervention has had just the opposite effect on health insurance.  Next time you order from Amazon or go to WalMart, ask yourself if government mandates and bureaucratic control would improve the availablity of their products and reduce the cost. 

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    And nothing much being said about the fact we will not have enough physicians to cover the 20-30k new patients. 

    And….more and more physicians are going cash or credit card only. With some of these physicians refusing to care for obese patients, because they feel like they are talking to a brick wall.

    And knowing the glutt of new new patients they will have to cover insurance companies have been raising prices since 2009 anticipating the extra cost.

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