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Bill to regulate CA health insurance rates is shelved

Los Angeles Times, September 2, 2011

A bill that would allow California officials to regulate health insurance rates for millions of consumers has died in the Legislature after forceful lobbying campaigns by insurers, healthcare providers and other groups. Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) said he is pulling his measure, AB52, because he could not muster a majority of votes in the state Senate, the final stop in a months-long effort to increase state regulators' authority over health insurance premiums. Feuer said he is putting his bill on hold until next year, when it can be taken up again. It marks the fourth time in four years that Democratic lawmakers have failed to win support for insurance oversight that would mirror the type of regulation already in place for auto policies."Until a majority of the Senate supports giving the state authority to reject excessive health insurance increases, millions of Californians will continue to pay unreasonable rates or not be able to afford to go to the doctor at all," Feuer said in a statement. Feuer's measure ran into a wall of opposition from health plans and groups representing hospitals, doctors and the state's public employees retirement system, among others.