Brown Defends Vote On Health Care Reform Bill


Brown Defends Vote On Health Care Reform Bill

The Intelligencer – STEUBENVILLE – The changes to the federal student loan program contained in the health care bill reconciliation measure were not unanticipated and do benefit students and families, according to U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

Brown discussed the increased Pell Grant availability and the health care bill during his weekly statewide press call Wednesday. He said the original plan was to pass student loan spending separately when Democrats held the filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate before the election of Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts.

He said with the need to move the Senate health care bill and then do the House-Senate reconciliation process, it became necessary to put the education provisions into the process, as the spending includes some savings from health care.

"It's not some back room deal. There's lots of debate," he said.

Brown said there are protections against insurance companies raising rates before the full impact of the legislation comes to bear in 2014, as had happened last year while credit card companies raised fees ahead of new regulations taking effect.

"There are two ways insurance companies are less likely to get away with that," Brown said. "If the insurance companies want to be in the exchange in 2014, that kind of behavior will make it less likely they will qualify for the exchange. There also are provisions, and they get little attention, called the medical loss ratio, that require insurance companies to spend 80 to 85 percent minimally on health care itself. In other words, the insurance companies can't take 25 percent or 22 percent out of the premiums for administration and profits, executives and lobbying. If they do that, they will have to report it and offer rebates to their customers."

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