Monday, September 13, 2010

On The Road to Price Controls

A while back I was angry with Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary for Health and Human Services, for her shameful ranting against insurance companies that raised prices -- see this earlier post, for instance:

But it now gets even worse. After some insurance companies announced future rate increases for individual plans, the Secretary of HHS wrote a letter to the insurance industry. As reported in the WSJ:
The Health and Human Services secretary wrote that some insurers have been attributing part of their 2011 premium increases to ObamaCare and warned that "there will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases."
The whole Sebelius letter can be read here.

What would the government do to companies that passed out "misinformation" and had "unjustified" (gasp!) rate increases? One action would be to ban such companies from participating in the insurance exchanges that were mandated in the new health care bill. From the Sebelius letter:
We will also keep track of insurers with a record of unjustified rate increases: those plans may be excluded from health insurance Exchanges in 2014.
And this is even scarier:
Later this fall, we will issue a regulation that will require state or federal review of all potentially unreasonable rate increases filed by health insurers, with the justification for increases posted publicly for consumers and employers.
Potentially unreasonable? Definition, please?? In anything close to a market economy, would one expect to have to justify to the Federal government every price increase? Does the Obama Administration wonder any longer why it is being painted as anti-business?

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