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Assembly Bill Would Slash Coverage Mandates For Health Insurers

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Aired 3/11/10

Health insurers have been demonized for raising premiums and for opposing health care reform. But one California lawmaker wants to give insurance companies a big break.

Health insurers have been demonized for raising premiums and for opposing health care reform. But one California lawmaker wants to give insurance companies a big break.

Modesto Assemblyman Tom Berryhill has introduced a bill that would allow insurers to drop some four-dozen coverage mandates. These include overnight hospital stays for new mothers.

Jerry Flanagan is with the non-profit Consumer Watchdog.

"If you take those laws away, insurance companies can still charge as much as they want, but provide far less health care," Flanagan argues. "That's really good for the insurance company, because they can keep more of our money for themselves; it's the last thing you want to do for patients."

The measure would suspend mandates until the state's unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent or below for four consecutive quarters.

The California Association of Health Plans says it had nothing to do with the bill.

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