Insurers warn bill will drive costs up

U.S. insurance companies aren’t playing nice any more on the health-care overhaul.

WASHINGTON — U.S. insurance companies aren’t playing nice any more on the health-care overhaul.

The industry put out a report Monday concluding that the Senate’s health-care legislation would drive up costs to consumers, delivering a dire message at a crucial point in the debate and potentially threatening President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.

The White House and congressional Democrats dismissed the late-in-coming message as a “hatchet job.” But it put them and their allies on the defensive a day ahead of a pivotal vote in the Senate Finance Committee on sweeping legislation that aims to achieve Obama’s goals of extending coverage to the uninsured and curtailing spiraling medical costs.

“I really don’t think it’s worth the paper it’s written on,” said John Rother, AARP executive vice-president. “If anyone believes it, that’s a problem.”

America’s Health Insurance Plans sent reporters and its member companies a new accounting firm study that projects the legislation would add $1,700 a year to the cost of family coverage in 2013

The study “confirms that the current legislation will make coverage less affordable for individuals, families and employers, and the study shows that costs will go up even faster than they would under the current system,” said Karen Ignagni, the top industry lobbyist in Washington.

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