Bill to Regulate Health Insurance Rates Passes Assembly

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Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Coordinator, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

AB 52 Seen as Critical Protection for Small Businesses, Individuals

AB 52, which would allow state regulators to reject excessive health insurance rate increases, passed the California Assembly  today by a vote of 43 to 1 (with Assembly Republicans not voting due to a procedural dispute).

Introduced by Assemblymember Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) and supported by a wide variety of health, consumer and small business organizations, AB 52 would require health plans and insurers to seek approval from state regulators prior to raising premiums, copayments, or deductibles.  It would build upon newly-implemented federal and state law improving the health insurance rate filing and review process.

“Strong grassroots support from around California helped overcome high-powered and well-financed opposition from the insurance industry,” said Carla Saporta, health program manager at The Greenlining Institute, which worked to organize support for the bill. “Small business owners and the organizations that represent them joined health advocates, community clinics and individuals around the state to stand up for patients and employers.”

“Support from communities of color was especially important to this victory,” noted Rosa Maria Martinez, Greenlining’s other health program manager. “These are communities that are disproportionately uninsured and where so much employment comes from small businesses that struggle to afford skyrocketing health insurance premiums.”

The bill now moves to the state Senate.

Groups endorsing AB 52 include the Asian Business Association, Black Business Association, Black Economic Council, California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, California Black Chamber of Commerce, Latino Business Chamber of Greater Los Angeles, California Nurses Association, Council of Asian American Business Associations, American Diabetes Association, Consumers Union and many others.