Health Law Leaves Loophole for Insurance Hikes

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Don't expect the new health care law to keep your health insurance premiums down.

According to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the new measure doesn't give the government the power to stop rate hikes.

"It's a very big loophole in health reform," she told The Los Angeles Times.

Feinstein is supporting a bill to give the federal and state governments the power to stop excessive increases.

But passing such a measure may be difficult as many members of Congress aren't comfortable with giving Uncle Sam such broad powers.

Meanwhile, a Massachusetts judge has ruled that six health insurance companies in that state cannot increase their premiums.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Stephen Neel sided with the state government, which says the companies have not justified their rate increases.

Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., applauded the court's decision.

"Unless insurers can give us a good reason, when everything else is flat, that they deserve 20 percent, 30 percent and in some cases 40 percent increases, they're going to be denied," Patrick told told The Boston Globe.

However, a lawyer for the insurers says they'll lose more than $100 million this year if not allowed to charge enough to keep up with inflation.

Some observers worry the ruling could put the insurance companies out of business.

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