Anthem Blue Cross Cancels Proposed Rate Hike in California; Obama Administration Praises News

By MichaelJames

Apr 29, 2010 10:20pm

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Thursday evening praised the announcement that Anthem Blue Cross withdrew its proposed rate increases in California of up to 39 percent, an issue that the White House seized upon in the closing days of the debate over the health care reform.

"Today's announcement is good news for the more than 800,000 Californians who could have been hit with massive rate increases and gives them some much-needed temporary relief," Sebelius said in a statement. "Since these rate hikes were first announced, I have heard from countless Americans who have been stretched to the limit by high health insurance premiums. This result was achieved because those who oversee the insurance industry on the state and federal levels heard these voices, held investigations, and demanded action."

Earlier today, California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced that an independent audit found that the company was basing its decision on flawed data, and that Anthem was withdrawing its proposed rate increase.

"The current application that was withdrawn today was just flawed," including double counting data and mathematical errors, Poizner said on a conference call with reporters, according to the Associated Press.

-jpt

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