Washington, D.C. – Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee today defeated anamendment from Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) that would have protected Americans fromdramatic increases in health care costs caused by the health care bill being considered bythe committee.
The Enzi amendment would have prohibited provisions in the bill from going into effectin any state until that state certified that the new regulations would not drive up healthinsurance premiums.
“The Finance Committee bill will drive up health care costs and make health insuranceunaffordable for millions of Americans. That’s the wrong kind of reform. Americans can’tafford a health care bill that leads to skyrocketing costs,” Enzi said.
“My amendment would protect American families from provisions of this bill that willdrive up their health insurance premiums. Flawed new rules that lead directly to higher costsshouldn’t go into effect.”
The Finance Committee bill would drive up health insurance premiums for manyAmericans by overturning laws in 42 states that allow health insurance companies to chargelower premiums for younger people. These state laws encourage young people to buy healthinsurance. Because young people have fewer medical problems and lower health care costs,their premiums help subsidize the costs of older, sicker individuals. As higher numbers ofyoung, healthy people join an insurance pool, the costs become lower for everyone.
By preempting these state laws, the Finance bill would force insurance companies tocharge higher premiums to younger people. This could lead many young people to concludethat the price of insurance is higher than the risk of getting sick or injured, and they coulddecide to drop coverage and pay the individual mandate tax in the bill. This would result insmaller insurance pools consisting of older, sicker people, and everyone would pay higherpremiums.
The Enzi amendment would have required that before these provisions could go intoeffect, each state insurance commissioner would need to certify that the new regulationswould not result in higher health insurance premiums for a majority of their state’s residents.Democrats defeated the amendment on a party-line vote.
“I’m disappointed that Democrats rejected this common-sense proposal, but I’m goingto keep working to find ways to bring down health care costs and help all Americans get thequality, affordable care they need.”