Political thuggery with obamacare
The Soup Nazi is the theme of the day today (previous post here). According to this piece (from the WSJ) HHS secretary Kathleen Sibelius has sent a “No More Soup For You” letter to the America’s Health Insurance Plans industry trade group warning them about blaming obamacare for raising insurance premiums. Even our dear comrade leader has admitted they knew all along that some of the provisions of the health care boot-to-the-face would cause premiums to rise. But the evil insurance companies are not supposed to tell their customers why. In other words, just take the BOHICA and shut up or no soup for you! Sheeesh.
‘As a consequence of us getting 30 million additional people health care, at the margins that’s going to increase our costs—we knew that,” President Obama said at his press conference Friday in response to a question about rising health spending.
That wasn’t how he sold the plan, but, anyway, that’s a truism. Here’s another: The White House was always going to blame insurance companies for any cost increases, even when its own policies cause them.
Witness Kathleen Sebelius’s Thursday letter to America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry trade group—a thuggish message even by her standards. 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.”
Zero tolerance for expressing an opinion, or offering an explanation to policyholders? They’re more subtle than this in Caracas.
What Ms. Sebelius really means is that the government will prohibit insurers from doing business if reality is not politically convenient for Democrats. ObamaCare includes a slew of mandated benefits for next year, such as allowing children to remain on their parents’ plans until age 26 and “free” preventative care (i.e., no direct out-of-pocket cost sharing for consumers). The tone of Ms. Sebelius’s letter suggests that she doesn’t understand that money is exchanged for goods and services, and that if Congress mandates new benefits, premiums will rise.
So let me get this straight. The regime admits that they knew obamacare was going to cause premiums to rise, but if the insurance companies tell their customers, the regime will punish them? Sounds like a scene out of Kafka.
ObamaCare gives Ms. Sebelius’s regulators the power to define “unreasonable” premium hikes, which will mean whatever they decide it will mean later this fall. She promised to keep a list of insurers “with a record of unjustified rate increases” and then to bar them from ObamaCare’s subsidized “exchanges” when they come on line in 2014. In other words, insurers must accept price controls now or face the retribution of a de facto ban on selling their products to consumers four years from now.
This is nasty stuff and an obvious attempt to shift political blame for rising insurance costs before the election. It’s also an early sign of life under ObamaCare, when all health-care decisions are political and the bureaucrats decide who can charge how much for a service or product.
Democrats built this system and they now own it politically. The least they could do is take credit for its consequences.
Is it any wonder that the politicians who crafted and passed this economy-killing boot-to-the-face are not mentioning it (or claiming that they voted against it) in their re-election campaigns? This monster needs to be repealed.