California Assembly Bill 52, which would have permitted direct state regulation of health insurance premium increases, recently was withdrawn for lack of support in the state Senate. Opposition to the bill was not just on the Republican side of the aisle. The administration of Governor Jerry Brown also criticized the bill as requiring creating of an expensive state rate-monitoring agency at a time of extreme budget crisis. Other opponents argued that state agency would make it difficult to implement the state insurance exchange required by federal health care reform, because the agency’s rulings could conflict with those of the exchange’s board of governors. (California has already enacted laws governing the California Health Benefit Exchange, which is required to be in place by 2014.) The bill will return to the Senate floor in January for further consideration.
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