Dem bill would let HHS block premium hikes


“In California and 14 other states, consumers continue to face unreasonable health insurance rate hikes,” Feinstein said in a statement. “Regulators in these states lack the authority to block or modify these unjustified increases in the individual and small group markets, even when they are found to be excessive."

President Obama's healthcare law gave HHS the authority to review certain rate increases, but the department can't do anything to stop them from taking effect.

The insurance industry opposes federal rate review, arguing that premiums only increase when underlying healthcare costs rise.