Lawmakers seek answers from insurers

Marketplace Staff Aug 19, 2009
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Lawmakers seek answers from insurers

Marketplace Staff Aug 19, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Lawmakers have been getting an earful on health-care reform from their
constituents, coast to coast. About 2,800 people showed up for Rep. Brian Baird’s meeting on health care in Washington state last night. On the other side of the country, Congressman Barney Frank took on critics at his own rowdy forum on health-care and financial
reform in Dartmouth, Mass. More than 500 people attended there, with some shouting and booing as Frank spoke.

And the debate over health care continues. Some on Capitol Hill are wondering how much money is at stake for insurers. They’re taking matters into their own hands. Marketplace’s Alisa Roth reports.


Alisa Roth: Henry Waxman, the representative from California, and Bart Stupak, who’s from Michigan, want to know more about the inner workings of health insurance companies. So this week they sent out letters to more than 50 of the biggest players in the country.

In the letter the two say they’re examining executive compensation and other business practices in the health insurance industry. They’re asking how much executives are earning, plus a whole bunch of other stuff — like how much policy holders pay in premiums and how much the companies pay out in claims. The letter asks the companies to answer by early September. Legally the companies don’t have to respond, but Congress could eventually subpoena the information.

It’s not a coincidence this letter just went out. Last weekend President Obama said he’s being pushed to reconsider a public option for health insurance.

In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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