WASHINGTON BUREAU — The Democratic leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have asked 52 health insurers to provide detailed compensation information and other information by Sept. 4.
The letter requesting the information was signed by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the committee, and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., chairman of the panel’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.
In addition to supplying detailed compensation data, the companies were asked to list premium revenue by market segment; claims payments; sales expenses; other expenses; and profits for all health insurance products, including an explanation of the methodology used in the calculations.
The data call “is just a fishing expedition designed to silence the health insurance industry and distract attention away from the fact that the American people are rejecting a government-run plan,” says Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, Washington.
The companies asked for data include carriers such as Unum Group Corp., Chattanooga, Tenn., and MetLife Inc., New York, that are now known mainly for selling non-medical insurance products, such as disability insurance, as well as large health insurers, such as WellPoint Inc., Indianapolis, and UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka, Minn.
Some of the recipients of the letters are nonprofit companies, such as Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Oakland, Calif., and Independence Blue Cross, Philadelphia.
- Reports that Democrats and Republicans have ended efforts to hammer out a health bill may be premature.
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, says his committee’s bipartisan health reform panel “continues its work” and will hold its next meeting Thursday night by teleconference.
“Bipartisan progress continues,” Baucus says. “The Finance Committee is on track to reach a bipartisan agreement on comprehensive health care reform that can pass the Senate.”
The staffers of the lawmakers on the bipartisan panel are also continuing to meet, Baucus says.
“I am confident we will continue our steady progress toward health care reform that will lower costs and provide quality, affordable coverage to all Americans,” Baucus says.