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Blue Shield of California plans huge rate increases

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Health insurance costs for hundreds of thousands of individual policy holders with Blue Shield of California could go up as much 59 percent this year, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The California health insurer has announced it is seeking to raise rates an average of 30% to 35% for 193,000 policy holders due to rising health care costs, the fact that healthier people are dropping coverage during a bad economy, and other factors.

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Roughly one in four of Blue Shield of California customers are expected to see increases of more than 50% over five months. Most of those who hold individual policies are self-employed, aren’t covered by their employer or have been laid off.

“Rates are going to continue to rise unless the cost of medical care is brought under control,” Blue Shield spokesman Tom Epstein told the LA Times. “We need to reduce what we pay to hospitals, medical groups and pharmaceutical companies.”

“The rate increases reported today cover a period of more than one year and have almost nothing to do with the federal health reform law,” Blue Shield of California said in a statement. “These rates reflect trends that were building long before health reform.”

Despite the rate hikes, Blue Shield of California said it expects to lose tens of millions of dollars on its individual health care business in 2010 and 2011.

Last year Anthem Blue Cross proposed a 39 percent increase for its nearly 800,000 customers, but a public outcry forced the insurance company to settle for a maximum hike of 20 percent.

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Anthem Blue Cross announced Wednesday that it expected to raise rates again an average of 9.8% for individual policy holders.

Health insurance premium hikes greater than 10 percent would be reviewed by state or federal regulators under new rules proposed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services in December of 2010.

The new regulations would force health insurers to publicly disclose proposed increases and the justification for them.

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“The proposed regulation will help safeguard consumers from unreasonably high rate increases by providing consumers with detailed information on proposed increases,” the department’s website states. “Disclosing proposed increases, along with the insurer’s justification, would shed light on industry pricing practices that some experts believe have led to unnecessarily high prices.”

On Wednesday, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) introduced a measure to establish a robust public health insurance option as a supplement to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. She said the public option would lower insurance costs and address deficit concerns.

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Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) vowed to pass legislation to repeal the new health care reform laws in the House, despite such a repeal’s inevitable death in the Senate.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated a repeal of Obama’s health reform laws would cost the US $1.2 trillion over the next 20 years.


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Law enforcement files discredit Brian Kemp’s accusation that Democrats tried to hack the Georgia election

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It was a stunning accusation: Two days before the 2018 election for Georgia governor, Republican Brian Kemp used his power as secretary of state to open an investigation into what he called a “failed hacking attempt” of voter registration systems involving the Democratic Party.

But newly released case files from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation reveal that there was no such hacking attempt.

The evidence from the closed investigation indicates that Kemp’s office mistook planned security tests and a warning about potential election security holes for malicious hacking.

Kemp then wrongly accused his political opponents just before Election Day — a high-profile salvo that drew national media attention in one of the most closely watched races of 2018.

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Brooklyn 88 Precinct ‘overrun’ — one night after Minneapolis police station was burned to the ground: report

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Protesters have overrun a police station in New York City, according to a CNN law enforcement analyst.

"NYPD source informs me 88 Pct in Brooklyn just been overrun," former FBI Agent James Gagliano reported Friday evening.

"Police Commissioner Shea has called a Level 3 mobilization. Requires all special units respond and four cars from every command in the city to location," he explained.

He said 84 Precinct and Brooklyn North are also "under siege."

https://twitter.com/JamesAGagliano/status/1266546781569142784

Brooklyn 88 precinct overrun pic.twitter.com/rCyV41XKmN

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WATCH: Prisoners at Chicago correctional facility bang on the walls in solidarity with protesters

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On Friday, as protests raged across the nation over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Chicago protesters were joined by the inmates of a correctional facility, who audibly banked on the walls in solidarity.

Watch below:

Not sure if you can hear...but the people locked inside the correctional center are banging on the walls like crazy. #chicagoprotest pic.twitter.com/e4bMxtiAh9

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