OMG! Not Sweeping, Vague Authority Over Insurance Companies, Obama!
Since Obama doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of pushing through Obamacare at this point, is getting railed on all over the place, and Congressional asshats are bailing out by the handful, it makes sense that the administration would seek to regain control of something.
Unnecessary disclosure: JDA has Anthem or Blue Cross or whatever the hell you call it and at 29, rarely seeks occasion to use it. My non-smoking 6 year old (they actually say that on the application) also has a private policy through them and neither of us saw a rake hike. Oh the humanity! Shut it down, Mr President!
David Herszenhorn and Robert Pear via NYT:
President Obama will propose on Monday giving the federal government new power to block excessive rate increases by health insurance companies, as he rolls out comprehensive legislation to revamp the nation’s health care system, White House officials said.
The president’s legislation aims to bridge differences between the bills adopted by the House and Senate late last year, and to frame his debate with Republicans over health policy at a televised “summit” meeting on Thursday.
By focusing on the effort to tighten regulation of insurance costs as a new element that had not been included in either the House or Senate bills, Mr. Obama is seizing on outrage over recent premium increases of up to 39 percent announced by Anthem Blue Cross of California, and moving to portray the Democrats’ health overhaul as protecting Americans from predatory insurers.
So shall we call this strong-arming or hijacking? You guys pick.
Listen, I get the point. It's rude what Anthem is doing. Know what? If Obama keeps his nose out of it instead of demanding the sort of authority Bushy Jr had a penchant for (you know, broad and all-encompassing but light on details), Anthem policyholders will either put up with it or find a different insurance company. Employers are free to do the same. Simple.
Please don't "protect" me from anything, Mr Obama, as I already stated, Bushy Jr tried to protect me from terrorists and I ended up getting hassled. Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke tried to protect me from financial doomsday and now I'm paying more for just about everything. I didn't buy it then and I don't buy it now so let me figure it out, Sir, I'm a clever girl and so is at least some percentage of my country.
Not the idiots calling for insurance companies' heads.
Perhaps Mr Obama is in denial and does not understand that Obamacare has already begun to claim "victims", even if it never passes at all. Why else would Anthem be losing subscribers? The unemployed and those holding out for a free lunch, duh.
Keep interfering. Protect us from the evil free market and FMV of goods and services! Please! I'm scared!
[I]nsurance industry observers predict an increase in health plan acquisitions in 2010, but say that any move to revive health reform could put merger plans back into the deep freeze where they’ve been for the past year. All told, mergers of healthcare providers, insurance companies, and health services companies plunged from a total value of $44 billion in 2006 to $12.9 billion in 2009. Much of the decline was recession-related, of course, but some of it also stemmed from uncertainty over healthcare reform. Now that reform appears to be dead, analysts and insurance executives are predicting a pickup in M&A activity over the next year.
That may seem counter-intuitive, given the legions of new customers reform would drive to insurance companies. But proposed new taxes on carriers and the requirement that they take all comers without universal coverage deflated any enthusiasm that insurers may have felt about reform.