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Letters: What's behind higher premiums

March 13, 2013

Re "Another regulator chastises insurer," Business, March 8

Blue Shield of California is correct when it says that "executive compensation has nothing to do with our rates," but so is state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones when he says that double-digit premium increases were caused by "excessive administrative costs and inflated estimates for future medical claims." He is also correct when he says the big omission in the president's healthcare reform law was its failure to give regulators the power to block unreasonable rate increases.

Unfortunately, the primary cause for big rate increases is the cost shift caused by Medicare's and Medi-Cal's underpaying of hospitals and providers. Until Congress deals with that, we will continue to see double-digit premium increases.

Howard C. Mandel, MD

Los Angeles

The failure to limit how much money profit-generating insurers can make off people's need for healthcare is a disgrace. Chastisement by an insurance commissioner is not enough. He must have the authority to regulate health insurance premiums.

The lives and health of Californians should not be sacrificed for corporate greed. If we cannot get protection from unjustifiable premium rates, it is time for a single-payer healthcare system.

Lloyd A. Dent

Studio City

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