Friday, January 07, 2011

Obamacare has nothing to do with it. Just move along, move along

Interesting story in today's edition of the Sacramento Bee. It seems our state's brand new statist insurance commissioner (and former statist state assemblyman) Dave Jones is all bent out of shape that several health insurance companies in California are raising their premiums:
Only days into the job, state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones faced off with the health insurance industry Thursday, calling on Blue Shield of California to delay plans to raise premiums by as much as 59 percent on nearly 200,000 Californians who buy health coverage on their own...

Anthem Blue Cross, the state's largest for-profit insurer, recently announced plans to raise rates for individual customers by 9.8 percent on average – on top of the 14 percent hike it put into effect in October...

Health Net on Jan. 1 also raised rates, by an average of 4 percent, on 37,000 customers with preferred provider coverage in the individual market, said spokesman Brad Kieffer. About 3,000 health maintenance customers saw rates go up an average of 1 percent...
The health insurance companies are quoted in the article as blaming the premium increases on, "spiraling costs for medical care that are charged by hospitals, doctors, and other medical providers," however, a spokesperson for Blue Shield goes out of his way to insist that the newly passed ObamaCare law has nothing to do with the rate hikes:
Blue Shield said its rate increase was not the result of provisions contained in the federal health care law.

"These rates reflect trends that were building long before health reform," the company said in a statement e-mailed to reporters.
Golly, it would be so easy to take these insurance companies at their word and let them place all the blame on themselves and health care providers, and absolve government of any responsibility, but don't the inevitable costs placed on the insurance companies by ObamaCare play any role at all? How could they not, and why won't the insurance companies say so?

I know! Let's revisit the words of Obama's Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, who said last year:
"There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a letter to the insurance lobby.

"Simply stated, we will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections," Sebelius said. She warned that bad actors may be excluded from new health insurance markets that will open in 2014 under the law. They'd lose out on a big pool of customers, as many as 30 million people nationwide....
So with a not-so-subtle warning like that from our imperial federal government, even if ObamaCare is a reason for these rate hikes (and you know it has to be), do you think the insurance companies are going to say so?

Welcome to 2011 America.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

No comments: