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An Attempt to Force Insurance Companies to Dedicate More Cash to Care

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee’s health subpanel, is no fan of the insurance industry, as was made perfectly clear during Tuesday’s debate on his failed amendment to create a public plan.

Along those lines, the West Virginia Democrat plans today to propose legislation requiring insurance companies to dedicate a minimum percentage of their premium revenues to the delivery of medical care. Rockefeller claims those companies spend too much paying salaries and rewarding shareholders, and not enough treating patients.

He has a point. The health reform bill moving through the Senate Finance Committee is a gift to the industry industry, supplying upwards of $460 billion in insurance subsidies over the next decade. Rockefeller said Congress should enact “some guarantee that these taxpayer dollars are being used to help American families get health care. … We must demand that with taxpayer dollars the health insurance companies put people before profits.”

A vote on Rockefeller’s proposal should come later today.

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