Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Obama administration reacts to criticism

The Obamaniams are getting a mite bit testy over the criticisms of their beloved health care plan. Unfortunately, for them, the facts just don't bear out the mighty claims they had for how the public would just loooove ObamaCare once it was passed. I guess that is why Kathleen Sebelius has decided that the administration doesn't need no stinkin' First Amendment when it comes to industry critics of the program. Her Department of Health and Human Services has put out a letter forbidding insurance companies to blame ObamaCare for their rate hikes.
"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.

The letter to America's Health Insurance Plans was the latest volley in a war of words over who gets the blame for rising premiums. Polls show that many people expect their costs to go up as a result of the law, but there's also widespread mistrust of the insurance industry.

An HHS official said the letter is a pre-emptive move, after the department learned that several smaller carriers around the country are blaming the new law for rate increases this year.
So she's threatening the insurance companies that if they don't shut up and pretend that ObamaCare hasn't raised their costs with its requirements such as abolishing lifetime dollar caps on coverage, allowing parents to keep insuring their children up to the age of 26, plus providing preventive care with no cost-sharing with the patient have not contributed to the increase in rates they won't get to participate in the health insurance exchanges that will go into effect in 2014. As Ed Morrissey writes,
Rarely have we heard a Cabinet official tell Americans to stay out of political debates at the risk of losing their businesses. It points out the danger in having government run industries and holding a position where politicians can actually destroy a business out of spite. It also demonstrates the thin skin of our current administration, where Hope and Change means keeping your mouth shut and pretending that everyone is happy while businesses slowly circle the drain.
Perhaps Sebelius is just angry at the news that has broken this week about how quite a few insurance companies are raising their rates and blaming ObamaCare. Funny how their estimates of how insurance companies can offer more benefits without having to raise rates just haven't been borne out. Perhaps it is because Obamanomics is as faulty as ObamaCare. And all they have left is having the head of HHS threaten companies from explaining the truth about why they have to raise rates. And when state insurance commissioners accept those explanations, is Sebelius going to come after them also? Don't put anything past these people.


Bob said...

She is so short sighted. She seems to overlook the fact that the insurance companies need the approval of individual state regulators to get and rate changes. So, is she saying that the States are to blame for the rate increases, so THEY can't participate in the future of the the program? Lucky them! Or, as is typical with this administration, is EVERYONE else just too stupid to get it?

John A said...

Well, she says she will go after |False" and "unsupported" claims of increasing expenses owing to the Federal "reform" law.

But the rates are largely, perhaps entirely, supported and not false. Will that mean she will back off? Elsewhere it has been suggested not, that insurers who have distributed notices about the increases may be prosecuted for making "politica;" statements using means not covered by the First Amendment. Note that in such a achrge, whether the material is true or false is not relevant...

Pat Patterson said...

Didn't she lose her national guard units and their equipment once?

Freeven said...

What galls me is that we've drifted so far from a free market system that no one even flinches anymore when a government official speaks of "unjustified rate increases."

Private companies shouldn't have to justify their rates. They should set them where they please and folks should be free to buy or not buy their products as they see fit.

I blame this drift on the Right. The Left is, by design, leading America away from the free market. If conservatives aren't vigilant about challenging this language and the world view it promotes, they have only themselves to blame.

tfhr said...


Too true. Our current high priced health care system comes from government tweaks in the form of wage and price controls in the post war years which ultimately inspired companies to circumvent those well intentioned restrictions on pay with benefit packages as an alternative.

Decades of subsequent tweaks and ever growing government meddling in health care has all but eliminated the free market in that sector. So here we are and now business expert and medical genius, Barack Obama, wants to make health care all better with more of what got us here in the first place.