New Insurance Commisioner Jones Vows To Back Federal Reform

SACRAMENTO (AP) — As one of his first acts in office, California’s new insurance commissioner said he’ll back the national health care reform law by proposing emergency legislation to ramp up enforcement.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, former state assemblyman Dave Jones said his proposed emergency regulations could take effect in as little as a few weeks, and would allow him to enforce a transition in how insurance companies use premium dollars.

California law already requires insurers to spend 70 percent of premiums from the individual market on medical care, but the new federal reform law ups that number to 80 percent of income as of this year. The percentage is known as the “medical loss ratio.”

Jones said his proposed regulations are necessary because the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives has threatened to cripple federal officials’ ability to enforce reform through budget cuts.

“This emergency regulation will not only provide additional enforcement tools but will also give me authority to enforce this standard if” federal officials can’t, said Jones.

Jones, a Democrat, was sworn into the regulatory role Monday night, and is taking over the office from Republican Steve Poizner.

(© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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