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21 July 2017 12:47 (South Africa)

Health insurers draw a line in the sand

American insurance companies are playing hardball now just as the Senate finance committee prepares to vote on its final proposal on health care reform. A just-released industry-funded study says the Senate proposal will add thousands of dollars a year to the costs of a typical family health insurance policy. The White House cried, “distorted and flawed”, the AARP said “fundamentally dishonest” and a spokesman for the Senate finance committee’s chair called it a "a hatchet job". At the core of the industry's complaint is a weakened requirement that millions of Americans get their coverage up front, rather than waiting until they get sick. The insurance industry says it will drive up costs for all. This threatened to overwhelm a vote today in the Senate finance committee on the ten-year, $829 billion plan Senator Max Baucus has punted as the solution to America's high medical costs and the large number of uninsured citizens. While the Baucus-sponsored bill is expected to pass in the committee, the medical insurance industry is obviously gearing up to influence the legislation beyond this committee vote, on the floor of the Senate, the House of Representatives and in an eventual conference committee to deal with the differences.

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