Alexander: New Health Care Law Will Increase Premiums for Many Tennesseans

Says new law ignores “the health care delivery system which is breaking the backs of American families, American businesses and the American government”

Posted on April 20, 2010

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following remarks during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), of which he is a member. The hearing, titled “Protection from Unjustified Premiums,” considered Senator Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) proposal to give the federal government the authority to block health care premium or other rate increases.

  • “Again, we are focusing on a tiny part of the problem, health care company profits, and ignoring the health increasing costs of the health care delivery system which is breaking the backs of American families, American businesses and the American government.”

 

  • “A letter from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office issued at the end of November says that the new law will increase premiums for people who buy insurance on their own by 10 to 13 percent, on average.”

 

  • “So basically, we’ve passed a new health care law that raises premiums and now we’re considering a new proposal that seeks to say to insurance companies, half of them non-profit, ‘We’re going to take a look at your profits and that will solve the problem.’  The real problem is the health care delivery system and the real way to reduce premiums is to focus on reducing costs.”

 

  • “Health insurance companies’ profits, and half of them are non-profit, for one year equals about two days of health care spending in the United States.  So, even if we were to take away all the profits of the so-called greedy insurance companies, that would still leave 363 days a year where our health care delivery system costs are still expanding at a rate our country cannot afford.”

 

  • “As a former governor, I resist the idea of Washington telling Tennessee what to do about this.  Tennessee has decided that it wants to regulate insurance premium increases—fine.  Illinois has decided that it doesn’t.  I don’t think we should be telling Illinois it should or shouldn’t.  To me, this is another Washington takeover of responsibility and it’s a focus on the wrong problem—it’s barking up the wrong tree.”