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"If the goal is to make health care affordable, this concession does not go far enough," said Richard Kirsch, campaign manager for Health Care for America Now. "It still allows insurers to charge much more if you are old." His group, backed by unions and liberals, is trying to build support for sweeping health care changes.
Importantly, insurers did not extend to small businesses their offer to stop charging the sick higher premiums. Small employers who offer coverage can see their premiums zoom up from one year to the next, even if just one worker or family member gets seriously ill.
Ignagni said the industry is working on separate proposals for that problem.
"We are in the process of talking with small-business folks across the country," she said. "We are well on the way to proposing a series of strategies that could be implemented for them."
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