Anthem Blue Cross of California's scheduled premium increases for individual policyholders is providing President Obama and congressional Democrats with further ammunition as they continue to push for an overhaul of the U.S. health care system, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In January, Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown won an election to the U.S. Senate and ended the 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority that Democrats had expected to use to pass health care reform legislation.
Following Brown's election, movement on the health care overhaul bills nearly slowed to a halt.
Spotlight on Anthem
However, in February, news outlets began reporting on Anthem's plan to raise premiums by up to 39% for 800,000 individual policyholders in California.
The Obama administration and congressional Democrats seized on Anthem's rate hikes as an example of the risks of inaction on health care reform legislation.
Officials held hearings to respond to Anthem's actions and lawmakers proposed additional legislation aimed at combating similar rate hikes.
The Obama administration and Democrats are continuing to point to Anthem's hikes as an example of how increased regulation of the health insurance industry could benefit both insured and uninsured populations (Barabak/Helfand, Los Angeles Times, 5/7).