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A controversial push to give state regulators the power to reject proposed increases in health insurance rates has stalled in the state Senate.

Assembly Bill 52, by Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, would let the state insurance commissioner or the director of the Department of Managed Health Care reject or modify proposed rate increases found to be "excessive," "inadequate" or "discriminatory."

The bill cleared the Assembly on a party-line vote in June. But Feuer has decided to hold off on any action this year, saying he does not have the votes to win approval from the Senate before the first year of the legislative session ends next week.

"Despite an outpouring of strong support from small business, working families and consumers throughout CA, the bill has hit a temporary roadblock in the Senate," Feuer said in a statement. "Right now, not enough senators are prepared to vote for any form of health insurance rate regulation."

A Feuer spokeswoman said the Los Angeles Democrat will continue to work for the bill's passage next year, when the Legislature returns for the second leg of its two-year session.

AB 52 sparked one of this year's biggest battles under the dome, pitting Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, consumer activists and health advocacy groups against health insurance industry and business groups. Local governments, pension funds and Gov. Jerry Brown's Department of Finance had come out against the bill in recent weeks.


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