Consumer Watchdog targets 10 'loopholes' in health reform law

President Obama and Congress should take action on 10 "loopholes" in the federal health reform law, or insurers and drug companies will exploit them to raise prices, says the Washington, D.C.-based consumer advocacy organization Consumer Watchdog. The problem areas that need to be addressed include: a failure to adequately regulate insurance rates; the pre-emption of stronger state benefit requirements; making states wait until 2017 to use their share of federal funds to support alternate, state-based health reform when individual health insurance mandates take effect in 2014; the ability of Medicare Advantage plans to pull in the healthiest senior citizens through intense marketing campaigns; the failure to allow Medicare to bargain directly for drugs (and rein in prices); a lack of regulatory oversight to ensure that insurers make coverage rescissions only in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation; no legal accountability for insurers that deny medically necessary care; no clear definition of what insurers can label as medical expenses; inadequate federal fallback if states fail to prevent fraud; and no requirement for insurers to cover children with pre-existing conditions. Press release