The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) issued the following statement regarding the Senate introduction of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”:
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is committed to working with Congress and the Obama Administration to enact bipartisan legislation this year that improves quality, reins in costs and extends coverage to everyone. However, we are disappointed that the Senate bill includes a government-run health program, even though the Senate Finance Committee rejected such a proposal. Analyses, including those by the Congressional Budget Office, show that a government-run plan would do nothing to make healthcare coverage more affordable for consumers and will in fact have the opposite effect. Not only would a new government-run plan be more expensive than coverage offered in the current marketplace, but it also would jeopardize access to coverage for the 160 million people who receive their benefits through their employers today. Given the negative impact such a plan would have on both affordability and access, creating a government-run plan is misguided public policy that will compromise the impact of broader healthcare reform.
To be successful and sustainable, healthcare reform must not only expand coverage to the uninsured, but it also must make healthcare more affordable for everyone. Many provisions in the Senate bill, including allowing people to wait to buy coverage until they are sick, limiting age discounts for the young and healthy, and a new $6.7 billion annual insurer tax, will increase costs for millions of consumers. Any bill that raises costs for people buying coverage fails to pass the affordability test.
As we review the bill, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies will continue to work with the Congress to educate Senators on the unintended consequences of this legislation and to help fix the bill in order to create affordable and sustainable healthcare reform for everyone.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 39 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for 100 million members – one-in-three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit www.BCBS.com.