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Greg Walden: Consumers deserve to know why their health insurance costs are going up

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Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) today introduced a bill to empower consumers by giving them more information about rising health insurance premiums.

"If the federal government is going to play such a big role in our health care going forward, we have the right to know just how much it costs us. The "Patients' Right to Know Act' will require health insurers to provide consumers with a line-by-line summary of how the new health care law's taxes and fees are impacting their insurance premiums," Rep. Walden said.

"During the debate over the health care law, then-Speaker Pelosi said "we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." Well, it's law. Consumers deserve the right to know how much of their premium is attributable to the nearly trillion dollars in taxes associated with the new health care law," Rep. Walden said.

The new health care law--the Affordable Care Act--is expected to raise health insurance premiums for Oregonians who buy their own health insurance coverage or receive it from their small employer. According to a study commissioned by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber last year, premiums for those individuals will go up an average of 38 percent. While premiums for some Oregonians will decrease, they will rise by about 70 percent for more than one third of those in the "individual market" (Click here to read the report). According to a recent Congressional report, premiums in the "individual market" are expected to rise by 27 percent to 55 percent in Oregon due to the health care law.

Tomorrow, the House Energy and Commerce Committee--of which Rep. Walden is a senior member--will hold a hearing entitled "Unaffordable: Impact of Obamacare on Americans' Health Insurance Premiums." Rep. Walden's bill will be discussed as the committee begins to consider this common-sense legislation.

This legislation is just one way that Rep. Walden and his colleagues are analyzing the health care law's true impact on patients, providers, small businesses, and families. Next week, Rep. Walden's Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will explore how FDA regulations and taxes could impact innovation in mobile applications and devices. Click here for more information on that hearing.


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