Press Releases

Sep 25 2009


- Plans To Offer The Rockefeller Public Option Amendment Tuesday -

Washington, D.C.Senator Jay Rockefeller, lead Senate supporter of the creation of a public option to drive down insurance costs and save families money, plans to offer his public option amendment Tuesday in the Senate Finance Committee markup.
True health care reform cannot be realized without a strong public insurance option that works for American families and I intend to offer this amendment in the Senate Finance Committee next week,” said Senator Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care.  “The bottom line is we need a public insurance option because it will drive down private insurance costs and help make health insurance affordable.” 
Rockefeller continued, “When this happens, families win – they get to keep more of their hard earned money in their wallets and that’s a great thing for them and for the economy.  Opposition to a public option is really just a vote for the insurance companies to make bigger profits and that is unacceptable to me.  The American people have asked for real solutions that protect their families and their economic security – a public option does just that.”
Senator Rockefeller has filed amendment C6, to include his Consumers Health Care Act (S. 1278) as modified in the America’s Healthy Future Act.
  • Creates a Strong Public Option: This amendment would add a strong public health insurance option, the Consumer Choice Health Plan (CCHP), to the exchange to compete directly with private plans.  Like private health plans, CCHP would be offered to all individuals and businesses purchasing health insurance through the national health insurance exchange.  To guarantee plan availability nationwide, public program provider networks will be used.
  • Same Regulations as Private Plans: At a minimum, the Consumer Choice Health Plan would be required to follow the same insurance regulations as private plans operating in the exchange.  CCHP would also be required to offer the same type of plans as private plans participating in the exchange. 
  • Financially Self-Sustaining: The Consumer Choice Health Plan will be financially self-sustaining (subject to an annual third party audit).  The plan administrator will establish and fund a contingency reserve for CCHP in a manner similar to that of the contingency reserve established by OPM for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan.  Funds to operate the plan shall be derived from premiums for individuals enrolled under the plan. 
  • Subsidies: To help enrollees afford the cost of coverage, the same premium subsidies would be provided to enrollees in CCHP as those offered to consumers enrolled in private health plans.  Any additional revenue gained under this public plan option would be reinvested in CCHP in the form of reduced premiums and cost-sharing or increased benefits.
  • Payment Rates: Minimum benefit requirements for children would be based on the pediatric care guidelines provided by Bright Futures, which offers evidenced-based direction on the provision of well-child and other primary health care services.  The provider payment rates for the first two years of CCHP would be based on Medicare provider payment rates, including new delivery models enacted as part of health reform.   For subsequent plan years beyond the first two years, CCHP would be required to determine competitive provider payment rates based on public and private best practices, integrated models of care delivery (such as medical home and chronic care coordination), evidence-based practices, quality improvement, and the use of health information technology.
  • Creates a Health Insurance Trust: This amendment would also establish America’s Health Insurance Trust to give consumers a voice in health insurance oversight.  This nonprofit, consumer-driven organization will evaluate and give ratings to all health insurance products offered through the national health insurance exchange based on factors such as affordability, adequacy, transparency, consumer satisfaction, provider satisfaction, and quality.