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Testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee: The first three years of the medical loss ratio May 21, 2014 ,

Grace-Marie Turner was invited to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee during a hearing entitled “Delivering Better Health Care Value to Consumers:  The First Three Years of the Medical Loss Ratio.” In her testimony, she explained key problems and distortions created by the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR), which specifies that health plans must spend at least 80% of premium dollars on medical care.  She also talked about the larger context of how the law and the MLR are failing in the goal of delivering better value to consumers.

Her testimony concludes:

  • Higher taxes and fees on health insurance are passed along to consumers in the form of higher premiums.  These additional costs directly resulting from the law will be much larger than any savings under the MLR.
  • A lack of competition among insurers in states means there is little incentive for hospitals and other providers to negotiate lower rates, again driving up the cost of premiums.
  • The ACA has the unintended result of interfering with one of the health insurance options that has been popular with small business by not counting spending on medical care from Health Savings Accounts as medical expenditures for purposes of the MLR calculation.
  • And other provisions also produce unintended consequences, such as giving health insurers less incentive to fight fraud and making it more difficult for insurers and brokers to be there to assist individuals and small businesses with insurance decisions and claims.

Here is a link to her full testimony and here is a link to the five minute summary of her testimony.

Here is the list of witnesses:

Mr. Wendell Potter 
Analyst
Center for Public Integrity and former health insurance executive
Ms. Katherine Fernandez 
Houston, Texas
Mr. Mark Hall 
Professor of Law
Wake Forest University
Ms. Grace-Marie Turner 
President
Galen Institute