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White House Tells Insurance Industry: SHUT UP About Obamacare-Caused Rate Hikes, Or Else!!

My family began to understand some of the unknown effects of Obamacare a few weeks ago when my wife showed me a letter from our health insurance company informing us that our premiums were going up more than usual because of the progressive health care bill. Other insurance companies have followed suit with letters to their clients. The progressive White House, not a big fan of the First Amendment is now telling the insurance industry to shut up or else!

Starting on September 23, 2010 insurance companies are force to include new benefits because of Obamacare that increase costs including:

  • Prohibition on lifetime limits
  • Restrictions on annual limits
  • No Co-Pay on coverage of preventive services
  • Extension of dependent coverage up to age 26
  • New internal and external appeals processes
  • New rules regarding coverage for emergency services
  • Prohibition on pre-existing condition exclusions for children

Based on their track record, the White House probably doesn’t realize for an insurance company to remain solvent, when costs go up they need to find a way to pay for it.

According to the Wall Street Journal,

Aetna, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, said the extra benefits forced it to seek rate increases for new individual plans of 5.4% to 7.4% in California and 5.5% to 6.8% in Nevada after Sept. 23. Similar steps are planned across the country, according to Aetna.

Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon said the cost of providing additional benefits under the health law will account on average for 3.4 percentage points of a 17.1% premium rise for a small-employer health plan. It asked regulators last month to approve the increase.

In Wisconsin and North Carolina, Celtic Insurance Co. says half of the 18% increase it is seeking comes from complying with health-law mandates.

The report says that most of these rate increases apply to policies issued to individuals and small businesses, the very people Democrats claimed would be most helped by ObamaCare. It also says that “about 9% of Americans buy coverage through the individual market, according to the Census Bureau, and roughly one-fifth of people who get coverage through their employer work at companies with 50 or fewer employees, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.”

But the White House wants the insurance companies silenced, HHS Secretary Sebelius sent a letter to the AHIP an insurance industry advocacy group. The letter written in a threatening tone said in part:

Given the importance of the new protections and the facts about their impact on costs, I ask for your help in stopping misinformation and scare tactics about the Affordable Care Act. Moreover, I want AHIP’s members to be put on notice: the Administration, in partnership with states, will not tolerate unjustified rate hikes in the name of consumer protections.

Already, my Department has provided 46 states with resources to strengthen the review and transparency of proposed premiums. 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. 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. 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.

Someone should tell the Sebelius that the same exact thing happened with Obamacare’s model, RomneyCare. The Journal also reported that Massachusetts, which enacted universal insurance coverage several years ago, also has seen steadily rising insurance premiums since then.

I suppose that’s just another benefit of Obamacare, along with higher insurance costs and making access to certain medical services more difficult, Obamacare has given the White House an excuse to threaten the first amendment rights of the insurance industry.

Jeff Dunetz is editor of the Political Blog The Lid, a contributor to American Thinker, Big Government,Big HollywoodBig Journalism, and Big Peace, and a Red State diarist

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