RELEASE: Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign denounces insurance industry lawsuit

For Immediate Release: June 23 2016

Contact: Keith Brunner, 802-363-9615

Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign denounces insurance industry lawsuit

The Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign is condemning a lawsuit against the State of Vermont as an insurance industry attack on government’s ability to regulate health insurance rates to protect the public good. The campaign warns that the lawsuit is an attempt to undermine confidence in government and to pave the way for a continued rise in healthcare costs and corporate profits.

MVP Healthcare, a New York-based health insurance corporation, is suing the Green Mountain Care Board, stating that the board’s charge to regulate insurance prices based on what is “affordable,” “promotes quality care” or “promotes access to health care” is based on vague and unconstitutional language. Along with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, MVP has annually proposed rate hikes, with one recent request topping 26%.

“This is essentially an assault on the authority of government to regulate the private sector,” said Ellen Schwartz, president of the Vermont Workers’ Center. “It’s completely unethical and would undercut the ability of the Green Mountain Care Board to consider what matters most to the public: cost, quality, and access.”

Schwartz added, “I’d also like to see MVP’s CEO Denise Gonick, who made $1.1 million last year, explain to a struggling Vermont family how the concept of ‘affordability’ is an ‘empty platitude’.” [1, 2]

Supporters of the Healthcare Is a Human Right campaign are encouraging Vermont residents to attend public hearings on July 21 where the Green Mountain Care Board will consider MVP's request for an average 8.8% rate increase for 2017 plans. A similar hearing will take place on July 20 for Blue Cross Blue Shield's proposed 8.2% rate increase. Both hearings take place in the GMCB Board Room, 89 Main St., Montpelier. [3]

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  1. MVP’s lawyer Gary Karnedy referred to the concepts of quality care and affordability as “empty platitudes,” quoted in VTDigger. http://vtdigger.org/2016/06/22/insurer-lawsuit-accuses-green-mountain-care-board-of-overreach/

  2. http://www.dfr.vermont.gov/sites/default/files/MVP%20-%20S200%20Form%202015%20VT%20ACT%20150.pdf

  3. http://ratereview.vermont.gov/2016_VHC_rate_review