Critics continue to take aim at AHIP's study

American's Health Insurance Plans' scathing report, which claims that the new health care reform legislation could increase premiums by 18 percent more over the next decade, continues to act as a lighting rod for the study's critics.

"In a world of politics, this is a serious accusation," said Robert Blendon, a Harvard University health policy pollster and political analyst. "People are really worried the bill will cost average middle income people more than they anticipated. Someone is going to have to respond as to why these are not accurate assumptions."

The Center for American Progress also weighed in, saying AHIP's study is flawed. Pointing to the collective opinions of seven health care experts, the organization claims the study ignores changes in payment methods, provisions that encourage use of technology and the creation of insurance exchanges to lower administrative costs.

Not surprisingly, White House officials fired back, stating the study disregards other features of the bill, such as offering subsidies for people who can't afford insurance.

But a lone voice is trying to add perspective: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office stated there are simply too many unknown factors to identify the "net effect" of the bill's impact on insurance premiums.

Still, AHIP chief Karen Ignagni defended the report, citing her biggest worry: That insurers would have to accept all applicants regardless of their health status for several years before the government enforces a requirement for people to buy health insurance.

For more on the story:
- read the New York Times article
- see this Politico article