California’s individual market: the tail wagging the health care reform dog
The firestorm over Anthem Blue Cross’s sharp premium increases for individual policies in California has reignited the debate over health insurance reform in Washington that had bogged down amid uncertainly after the holidays. It demonstrates how one event can alter the course of a major policy debate that seemed suddenly without direction. It also shows how the individual market — which covers only a small percentage of all Americans but a larger proprotion of Californians — is now the tail wagging the national health care reform dog.
Update 3/7/10: Los Angeles Times reporter Duke Helfand, who broke the story of the Anthem rate increases a month ago, has a piece in today’s paper co-written by LA Times reporter Mark Z. Barabak laying out the chronology that began early last November of how Anthem’s filing for individual policy rate increases averaging 25 percent breathed new life into the Obama administration’s health care reform agenda. You can read the story here.