WellPoint launches own attack on health reforms

In past weeks, trade group America's Health Insurance Plans has taken a lot of heat after unveiling a last-minute report suggesting that current health reforms could push up premiums dramatically over the next several years. AHIP, for its part, has refused to back down, and continues to argue that without a universal coverage mandate, reform can't curb health costs.

Now, health plan giant WellPoint has taken up the torch lit by AHIP, offering new data to Congress today that attempts to project premium increases for individuals and businesses on a state-by-state basis that would result if current reform goes through. The move is notable, not only given the lateness of the hour in the health reform process, but also the fact that WellPoint is taking its own stand independent from the trade group.

WellPoint's report pulls AHIP data from 14 states where it runs Blue plans, concluding that costs would jump for individuals of average age and health in each, with costs more than doubling for average individuals in states like Missouri and Ohio. Critics say that WellPoint is taking an extra shot at this issue because it's a big provider of small business and individual plans, both of which face big changes.

President Obama, for his part, has called AHIP's report "bogus," slamming its thesis that reform would push up premiums. He can't be too happy with WellPoint's analysis either.

To learn more about the WellPoint report:
- read this Wall Street Journal piece (sub. req.)

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