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Health Insurance Bill Stalls in the House

February 26, 1998
By: Caroline Noel
State Capital Bureau
Insurance companies are slowing up passage of a bill that would extend health care to small businesses..that's what one Representative is claiming. Caroline Noel has the story from the Capital.

Representative Harlan's bill would allow small employers to obtain medical coverage through the Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan, which currently only covers state employees.

A series of amendments have delayed a House vote on the bill, which opponents fear will raise rates for state employees and cause independent insurance agents to lose business. Representative Tim Harlan.

Actuality:"I'm still very optimistic about the bill. I think what we saw today was an attempt by insurance companies to slow down discussion,
RunTime: 0:11:12
OutCue: ..."to prohibit some votes on the bill."
Contents:

Opponents of the bill include Alliance Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Missouri Insurance Coalition and Missouri Chamber of Commerce. Deliberations on the bill will continue Monday. From the Capital, this is Caroline Noel.


One representative is crying foul over delay of a bill to extend health coverage to state employees. He says opponents are in the pockets of insurance companies. Caroline Noel has the story from the Capital.

A vote on Representative Harlan's bill to allow state employers to obtain health insurance has been delayed by several amendments, the sponsors of which are directly affiliated with insurance companies. Representative Harlan

Actuality:"At least three of the four opponents, and possibly all of them sell insurance either as agents, or insurance companies, or sell insurance
RunTime: 0:08:22
OutCue: ...to members of their association."
Contents:

Bill opponents Ron Auer and Mark Elliott respectively work for Group Health Plan, a St. Louis-based HMO and the Missouri Farm Bureau.

Representative Elliott argues that his proximity to the insurance industry does not pose a conflict of interest, but rather gives him expertise in the subject. Elliott says he opposes the bill because it may jeopardize state employees' rates and does not guarantee lower premiums to small business employers. Elliott characterized Harlan's remarks as sneaky and dishonest.

Debate on this issue continues Monday. From Jefferson City this is Caroline Noel.