California shelves health insurance rate-regulation bill

The California state Senate has shelved legislation requiring the state to regulate health insurance rates, the Los Angeles Times is reporting

This is the fourth time in four years that Democratic legislation to give regulators more power has died amid strong opposition from insurers and providers who say the bill could lead to artificially low rates. The bill got an extra boost earlier this year when Blue Shield of California proposed raising some individual plan rates by as much as 59 percent, but it still couldnt muster the needed votes in the Senate.

The federal healthcare law requires insurers to publicly justify rate increases of 10 percent or more starting Sept. 1, but it does not give regulators the power to reject so-called unreasonable rate hikes.