Mass. Judge Could Rule On Health Insurer Dispute By Monday

Here's the latest in the standoff between Massachusetts regulators and the state's health insurers.

The Boston Globe: "Lawyers for health insurers and the state sparred in court yesterday over regulators' rejection of 235 proposed rate increases, and a judge said he would decide by Monday whether the companies will be allowed to charge the higher prices." The insurers are arguing that the state's insurance commissioner overstepped his authority in rejecting the 235 of 274 requests to increase premiums (Weisman, 4/9).

The Associated Press: A lawyer for the insurers "said that requiring them to collect premiums at April 2009 rates, as he contended the state has ordered them to do, was 'grossly unsound' and would create losses of more than $100 million in the next eight months." The state's attorney said insurers rates have risen since last April and the state would only hold them to their latest rates. This debate drew a "standing room-only" crowd (Johnson, 4/8).

Boston Herald: "The showdown has captured national attention, because Massachusetts has been held up as a model for national health-care reform." The focus on this action also is fueled by a rivalry in the upcoming gubernatorial election. "Gov. Deval Patrick is facing challenges from Republican candidate Charles Baker, former chief executive at Harvard Pilgrim, which is one of the firms now suing the state." (McConville, 4/9).

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