A bill in California has been passed through a committee vote that would give state officials the authority to regulate insurance rates by being able to reject increases that health insurance companies have proposed.
The bill was approved by the Senate Health Committee by a vote of 5-3. This measure, called AB52, will now proceed to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Representatives of insurance companies, hospitals, and doctors have been working to try to diminish or end the bill, but they each did so for their own reasons.
Should the bill become law in California, that state will join thirty-four others, as well as the District of Columbia, among the regions that already have health rate regulation from state officials.
That said, California’s debate will have a nationwide impact. The reason for this is the magnitude of the insurance market within California, alongside the political landscape of that state, in addition to the influence that it already has over the country. For this reason, it can lead the way for similar changes in many other states across the nation.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the scale of the insurance market in California represents 15 percent of the entire country’s marketplace for those who are individually insured and 11 percent those insured through their employer. One eighth of the country’s population resides in that single state.
If this bill does receive the necessary approval and become signed into a law, then either the Department of Managed Health Care or the state insurance commissioner will have the authority to reject healthcare insurance rate increases should they be considered unnecessarily high.