Eight Health Leaders Respond to Obama's Healthcare Summit

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , February 26, 2010

"This misguided proposal would increase premiums for those who need insurance the most and eliminate important consumer protections. It would also fragment the insurance market and expose consumers to increased fraud and abuse. This concept must be rejected and the decision whether to allow, and under what conditions to allow, interstate sales of insurance should be left up to the individual states."

Anthony Wright
Executive Director
Health Access California

"The summit reinforced that the need and urgency for health reform, to provide security and stability for those with coverage, and to provide affordable choices for those lack it.

"The systemic healthcare problems in California came up repeatedly, showing the need for stronger oversight and regulation of insurers.

"We were disappointed that so many Republican leaders wanted to delay reform and start from scratch, rather than move ahead with the reforms that Californians desperately need.

"The major reform that Republicans pushed is the concept of selling health insurance across state lines. Allowing insurers across state lines would obviate all California consumer protections, allowing insurers from other states with much weaker regulations to sell substandard products.

"If an insurer or HMO is licensed in another state and a consumer needs recourse, how would the consumer complain? By calling the insurance commissioner in another state? How would the consumer even know where to call? This measure effectively eliminates all enforcement against health insurers and HMOs.

"California provides many consumer protections because of a long history of abuses by HMOs and health insurers. Other states provide few or none."

Robert Kirsch
National Campaign Manager
Healthcare for America Now

"We appreciate President Obama's attempt to reach out to Republicans one more time, but today's bipartisan summit proved the GOP is committed to little else than repeating the same stale talking points.

"We need reform to be sure that Americans are not left out or priced out of the best healthcare available. While the President and Congressional Democrats clearly understand our healthcare system is broken, Republicans at the summit showed they are grossly out of touch with the everyday struggles of working Americans when it comes to their being able to get the healthcare they need.

"It's now time for the President and Democrats to finalize a bill, and with or without their Republican colleagues, pass legislation that works for us—not the insurance companies—and gives us all good healthcare we can afford."

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