Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Applauds Supreme Court Ruling Upholding Affordable Care Act
News: 2012 Press Release
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today issued the following statement applauding the U.S. Supreme Court for its decision to uphold the entirety of the Affordable Care Act. The Court upheld the health care reform law in a 5 to 4 ruling.
"The passage of the Affordable Care Act is one of the most significant legislative achievements in the last forty years. The Court's decision today is a critically important one for the future of the entire nation. The Affordable Care Act is especially important for California, which is home to over seven million uninsured people, one million of whom are children. And it means that the millions of Californians who have health insurance will continue to enjoy benefits such as keeping their kids on their insurance to age 26, prohibitions on rescinding your insurance, elimination of lifetime and annual caps on your benefits, no co-payments for preventive care, cheaper medications for seniors on Medicare-the list of immediate benefits goes on and on."
"While the Supreme Court's decision is good news for Californians, there is one reform missing from the Affordable Care Act. The missing piece of the Affordable Care Act is the absence of authority to reject excessive health insurance rate hikes. Californians have been hit with double digit health insurance rate hikes year after year. Health insurers have been making record profits at our expense. As Insurance Commissioner, I do not have the authority to reject excessive health insurance rate hikes. Since 1988 the Insurance Commissioner has had the authority to reject excessive rate hikes for auto, home, property and casualty insurance, and saved consumers and businesses tens of billions of dollars. But not health insurance. We need to pass a law in California to give the Insurance Commissioner the authority to reject excessive health insurance rate increases. The State Senate should do this by passing Assembly Bill 52."
"Since the beginning of my tenure as Insurance Commissioner I have fought hard to ensure that the various reforms comprising the Affordable Care Act would be implemented in California. On the night I was sworn in, I issued an emergency regulation to implement one of the most important pieces of federal health care reform-the requirement that health insurers put more of the premiums they collect from us into medical care."
"I also issued regulations to implement another important benefit of federal health care reform- the requirement that health insurers provide health insurance to children even if they have a pre-existing condition. It used to be health insurers could deny children health insurance if they had a pre-existing condition, but thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we were able to put an end to this deplorable practice. In 2014 millions of adults who have been denied health insurance due to pre-existing conditions will also gain this critical access to health insurance coverage."
"Today's ruling is a validation President Obama's leadership in enacting the Affordable Care Act and of our efforts toward implementation of these reforms. Since its inception, I have been a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act and I will continue to work diligently to implement its components in California in order to make sure that all Californians have affordable access to health care. And I will continue to work for even stronger reform, such as single payer universal healthcare and the authority to reject excessive health insurance rate hikes."
The Affordable Care Act dramatically changes the way most Americans access their medical care, including:
- Preventive care is now available without co-payments or deductibles, so that no one with health insurance avoids going to the doctor for a check-up or get a critical screening because they cannot afford to pay for the visit;
- Parents can now keep their dependents on their health insurance up to age 26;
- Insurers are now barred from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions; and
- In 2014 insurers will be barred from denying coverage to any applicant with pre-existing conditions;
- Insurers are required to spend 80 percent of the premium dollars collected in the individual and small group markets on health care costs, rather than administrative costs and profits and in the large group market the requirement is that 85 percent of premium dollars be spent on health care.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $289 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.