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National Review Online


Obama's Insurance Mess

March 09, 2010

By Philip K. Howard

One of the president’s biggest talking points these days is his new proposal for a federal board to review health-insurance premiums and block “excessive” rate increases. In today’s New York Times, however, state insurance regulators explain why the plan is a bad idea:

Experts see a serious potential problem: Federal officials will focus on holding down premiums while state officials focus on the solvency of insurers, the ultimate consumer protection.

Economists say that holding down premiums does not necessarily hold down the cost of care, which reflects the prices charged by doctors and hospitals and the volume of services.

State officials worry that they would be left to police the solvency of health insurance companies while federal officials pressured insurers to reduce premiums, as Mr. Obama has done in recent days.

Said one insurance commissioner: “You’re not necessarily helping the consumer if you keep the rates artificially low. . . .What’s worse for the consumer: having a premium increase or having to pay the full amount of a medical expense because the company is out of business?”

Obama’s war on the insurance industry is meant to rally public support for the the Dems’ legislation — but the public doesn’t appear to be buying it, with the latest Rasmussen polls showing 57 percent of voters predicting that Obamacare will hurt the economy and 53 percent opposing Obamacare.

Whatever the administration is selling, the public isn’t buying it.

Original Source:



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