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May 30, 2007

State Watch | Blue Cross of California Launches Ad Campaign Criticizing Health Care Proposals

Blue Cross of California, the state's largest health insurer, has launched a media campaign opposing health care proposals by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and other state lawmakers that would require insurers to sell policies to all residents, regardless of health status, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The newspaper and television advertisements are part of an initial $2 million outreach campaign by the insurer's political committee, the Coalition for Responsible Healthcare Reform. Blue Cross is the only member of the coalition.

The ads criticize "guaranteed issue" provisions included in health care proposals by Schwarzenegger, state Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D) and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D). The ads say such plans could have "unintended consequences." Blue Cross supports the creation of a pool for residents who have health conditions that make them more expensive to cover. Ann-Louise Kuhns, a vice president of Blue Cross of California, said, "We're very supportive of health care reform efforts," adding, "We just need to fix what's broken and not break what's working."

Blue Shield of California spokesperson Tom Epstein said the insurer would not join the Blue Cross coalition. Blue Shield, which is a member of the coalition Together for Health Care, supports guaranteed issue and a requirement that all state residents obtain health coverage to balance the risk pool. Coalition members also include the insurers Health Net and Kaiser Permanente, as well as Service Employees International Union, AARP and the California Medical Association.

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Posted by healthinsurance at May 30, 2007 04:18 PM

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