What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Insurance Industry : (H.R. 1) On an amendment prohibiting federal funds from being used to enforce a legal requirement that health insurance companies must spend 80-85% (depending on the size of the company) of the money they collect from insurance premiums on health care services, and no more than 15% to 20% on administrative costs.
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(H.R. 1) On an amendment prohibiting federal funds from being used to enforce a legal requirement that health insurance companies must spend 80-85% (depending on the size of the company) of the money they collect from insurance premiums on health care services, and no more than 15% to 20% on administrative costs.
house Roll Call 110     Feb 18, 2011
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) prohibiting federal funds from being used to enforce a legal requirement that health insurance companies must spend 80-85% (depending on the size of the company) of the money they collect from insurance premiums on health care services, and no more than 15% to 20% on administrative costs. This requirement, known as the “medical loss ratio,” was part of a major health care reform law signed into law by President Obama in March 2010. . This amendment was offered to a continuing resolution funding the federal government through September 2011, and cutting $61 billion in federal funding for many government programs.

Price urged support for his amendment: “As a physician and dad, I care greatly about the issue of health care and came to Congress, frankly, as one of the major reasons was to try to fix the health care system and to make it more patient-centered.” He argued: “It [the amendment] really is about who decides… In health care, who decides? The folks on the other [Democratic] side of the aisle want the government to decide. They want the government to decide what qualifies as health care and what kind of health care you can get for yourself and for your family and for everybody across this land. On this side of the aisle, we want patients to decide, patients and families and doctors.”

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) oppose the amendment: “If you're with the gentleman from Georgia [Rep. Price], you are on the side of the big insurance companies, and you'll want to make sure that they make bigger profits, that they get bigger bonuses, that they pass out bigger dividends and more money to their CEOs; or if you're against this amendment and you want to go with the health care reform bill that we have, you're with the little guy--with the consumer, with the average American. Right now, the law says that consumers have to receive more value for their premium dollars. Insurance companies are required to spend 80 to 85 percent of premium dollars on medical care and health care quality improvements rather than on the bonuses and the salaries and the dividends for the CEOs and the stockholders. That's what this is all about. You're going to hand back to the insurance companies control over what happens with the money that you paid in your premium so they can do whatever they want with it and make whatever profit they want.”

The House agreed to this amendment by a vote of 241-185. All 238 Republicans present and 3 Democrats voted “yea.” 185 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House agrees to an amendment prohibiting funds provided by a continuing resolution from being used to enforce a legal requirement that health insurance companies must spend 80-85% of the money they collect from insurance premiums on health care services, and no more than 15% to 20% on administrative costs.

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