Next up: Senate considers regulation of health-insurance premiums

posted at 4:05 pm on April 21, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

After all, why stop at federal mandates on coverage?  If Congress wants to really destroy the insurance industry, they need to start setting price controls to accelerate their collapse.  According to the New York Times, Senate Democrats have already begun laying the groundwork for it:

Fearing that health insurance premiums may shoot up in the next few years, Senate Democrats laid a foundation on Tuesday for federal regulation of rates, four weeks after President Obama signed a law intended to rein in soaring health costs.

After a hearing on the issue, the chairman of the Senate health committee, Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, said he intended to move this year on legislation that would “provide an important check on unjustified premiums.”

Mr. Harkin praised a bill introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, that would give the secretary of health and human services the power to review premiums and block “any rate increase found to be unreasonable.” Under the bill, the federal government could regulate rates in states where state officials did not have “sufficient authority and capability” to do so.

This should prompt a rather embarrassing question: wasn’t ObamaCare supposed to prevent this very problem? Congressional Democrats and the White House certainly sold it as a cost-containment measure. They promised that their top-down, heavy regulatory approach would “bend the cost curve downward,” which should mean lower premium costs. The federal mandate was also supposed to reduce the rate of premium increases by forcing all of the healthy consumers in the US to buy, er, a comprehensive health insurance plan that they don’t need.

ObamaCare critics know that the bill won’t do anything to hold down costs, mainly because it amplifies the factors that drive up costs now rather than mitigates them.  Even the New York Times managed to discover that in their own state after 17 years of the same kinds of “reforms,” although they didn’t bother to report it until after ObamaCare passed.  Massachusetts and Maine had the same experience with premiums, and they had to respond with price-fixing solutions in order to keep citizens from throwing the architects of these plans out of office.

Price-fixing only succeeds in temporarily postponing the problem of cost control — because prices and costs are not the same thing.  A price-fixing regulatory system will succeed in the long run only in forcing insurers into bankruptcy.  Health insurers already operate on very thin margins.  If they can’t raise prices to meet cost increases, they won’t make any profit at all, and all of their policyholders will wind up with no coverage.

Some will claim that this has been the intent of Democrats all along; they want to destroy the health-insurance industry in order to fully nationalize health care in the wake of the collapse of the industry.  Whether or not that has been their intent, they couldn’t have possibly gone about destroying the industry in any better manner than what we’ve seen over the last year.

Update: Color Guy Benson shocked, too.


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Ya see, the commerce clause both lets them force us to buy something. And it lets them set the price for that thing we must buy.

Cuz that’s how it was intended.

lorien1973 on April 21, 2010 at 4:08 PM

Fearing that health insurance premiums may shoot up in the next few years

Wait, what?

amerpundit on April 21, 2010 at 4:08 PM

So, the government tells insurance companies who they have to sell to and what they have to sell, and now it’s going to tell them what they’re allowed to charge for it?

But it’s not a government takeover. Oh, no.

I wonder if Congress’ll forbid them to go out of business. That’ll work.

S. Weasel on April 21, 2010 at 4:09 PM

You know, my eyes sort of glaze over when I read this. Maybe it’s a self-preservation mechanism or maybe I’m just convinced that the GOP will take back Congress and undo some of this BS.

Oink on April 21, 2010 at 4:09 PM

wasn’t ObamaCare supposed to prevent this very problem?

Obamacare was passed to appease his base and so the Dems could brag about actually passing something. Now, this is the step in the march to single payor. They are overplaying their hand, again.

kingsjester on April 21, 2010 at 4:10 PM

ObamaCare was a “starter home”…single payer or bust.

d1carter on April 21, 2010 at 4:10 PM

IDS

insurance derangement syndrome

blatantblue on April 21, 2010 at 4:11 PM

The pendulum is going to swing back, and when it does, it will be swinging around 1200 fps.

SirGawain on April 21, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Some will claim that this has been the intent of Democrats all along; they want to destroy the health-insurance industry in order to fully nationalize health care in the wake of the collapse of the industry. Whether or not that has been their intent, they couldn’t have possibly gone about destroying the industry in any better manner than what we’ve seen over the last year.

Hands down, destruction of the private health care system is their goal. Anything they can do to speed that up is gravy to them.

LibertarianRepublican on April 21, 2010 at 4:12 PM

“We had to destroy health care in order to save it.”

Cicero43 on April 21, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Durbin and his ilk will never stop. Voting his type out is the only solution.

FireBlogger on April 21, 2010 at 4:13 PM

“Let me be clear: I am fundamentally transforming health care in America by outlawing insurance companies.”

/BHO

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on April 21, 2010 at 4:13 PM

The death spiral is coming faster even than I thought. These people really first class douches.

drjohn on April 21, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Wait, where’s my 3000% decrease?

kooly on April 21, 2010 at 4:13 PM

They promised

He promised a lot of things….as Nancy Pelousy would say, but that was on the campaign trail. Doesn’t count now.

GoldenEagle4444 on April 21, 2010 at 4:14 PM

“Under the bill, the federal government could regulate rates in states where state officials did not have “sufficient authority and capability” to do so.”

TENthers!!!

Seven Percent Solution on April 21, 2010 at 4:14 PM

First, it is impossible to embarrass these people and second I do believe it was their intention from the very start.

Cindy Munford on April 21, 2010 at 4:15 PM

And our taxes have been cut as well…you would think that we would be thanking them.

d1carter on April 21, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Fearing that health insurance premiums may shoot up in the next few years,

What a freaking idiot! Of course they are! That’s what happens when utilization jumps and pre-existing conditions are dropped!

It’s simply not possible to convey just how execrably stupid Democrats are.

Impossible.

drjohn on April 21, 2010 at 4:15 PM

do not vote for any of these Dems. yeah, I know, the Republicans are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but do.not.vote. for these Dems.

and don’t jack around with any candidate that can’t defeat these Dems. we cannot waste the time & money.

kelley in virginia on April 21, 2010 at 4:16 PM

The economic chaos that is likely to follow the disruption of private insurance health-care markets draws no attention from its Democratic supporters. Oddly enough, it has also been overlooked by the opponents of the bill who are so appalled by this hydra-headed monster that they don’t have the patience to parse its mind-numbing provision.

Perhaps that indifference will end if the Supreme Court takes a hard look at this new adventure into rate regulation. Traditional public utility regulation applies to such services as gas, electric and water, which were supplied by natural monopolists. Left unregulated, they could charge excessive or discriminatory prices. The constitutional art of rate regulation sought to keep monopolists at competitive rates of return.

To control against the risk of confiscatory rates, the Supreme Court also required the state regulator to allow each firm to obtain a market rate of return on its invested capital, taking into account the inherent riskiness of the venture. The orthodox legal approach was summed up in Justice William Rehnquist’s unanimous 1989 decision in Duquesne Light v. Barasch. Duquesne Light allowed the state regulators a wide choice of methods so long as the “bottom line” secured the appropriate rate of return. There’s no need to discuss the fine points here, because not one syllable in the Reid bill is dedicated to securing that constitutionally guaranteed minimum rate of return.

Duquesne Light carries extra weight here because health-insurance industries are far from natural monopolies, so that regulating their rates calls for an extra dollop of judicial scrutiny. At this point, the Reid bill is on a collision course with the Constitution. I take it for granted that, constitutionally, the federal government could not just require all private health insurers to liquidate tomorrow, without compensation.

What’s done here is a close second. The inexorable squeeze between the constricted revenue sources allowable that insurers get under the Reid bill and the extensive and uncertain new legal obligations it imposes is likely to result in a massive cash-flow crunch that will drive the firms in the individual and small-group health insurance markets into speedy bankruptcy. The Supreme Court should apply the constitutional brakes to this foolhardy scheme if Congress doesn’t come to its senses first.

Richard Epstein in the Wall Street Journal last December.

The assumption is that the government can regulate the insurance companies into bankruptcy. This doesn’t take into account that this would be an unconstitutional taking. Duqesne Light was unanimous, too.

(Yes, I know, and the Commerce Clause, as interpreted by the Dems, gives Congress the power to force people to engage in commerce, so maybe they think they can regulate a company out of existence. It did, however, take a constitutional amendment to effect Prohibition. A statute would not have sufficed.)

Wethal on April 21, 2010 at 4:16 PM

Well the insurance companies in Mass. can’t raise their prices so lets make it so that every state can’t raise their prices.

deidre on April 21, 2010 at 4:16 PM

Un intended consequences. The rates get capped, companies get coverage cancelled. Obama takes over with single payor, docs refuse new patients.
Don’t forget the IRS is in the middle. They will be in the doctors offices and decide which docs are making an unacceptible income and lower reimbursement on a doc by doc basis.

seven on April 21, 2010 at 4:16 PM

I think my tax just got taxed, and then that tax taxed, too.

tomg51 on April 21, 2010 at 4:18 PM

Oh and Resident Obama said premiums with “reform” would go down by 2,500 dollars. Has that happened anywhere to any one? No???

seven on April 21, 2010 at 4:18 PM

Why don’t these pols go out and find something useful to do with their lives. They have too much time on their hands. At this rate, all the insurance companies will drop health insurance altogether. Perhaps this is what they’re aiming for?

jeanie on April 21, 2010 at 4:19 PM

Ya see, the commerce clause both lets them force us to buy something. And it lets them set the price for that thing we must buy.
Cuz that’s how it was intended.
lorien1973 on April 21, 2010 at 4:08 PM

I’m sure crr6 could expound endlessly on that very fact.

Cuz ya see, the Constitution wasn’t meant to be a Limitation on big government, but the exact opposite – a Golden ticket for big government.

/sarc

Chip on April 21, 2010 at 4:19 PM

This is nuts.
Why not just nationalize it all right now and save us the middle years of debate?

ORconservative on April 21, 2010 at 4:19 PM

The good people of Iowa keep sending the National Socialist Harkin back to Washington so one can only conclude that the good people of Iowa are socialists who would be happier just turning their farms and businesses over to the government to run while they remain as caretaker managers.

Skandia Recluse on April 21, 2010 at 4:21 PM

I’m beginning to think kicking these bozos out of office in Novemeber is too good for them. Prison terms would be better.

AubieJon on April 21, 2010 at 4:21 PM

Some will claim that this has been the intent of Democrats all along; they want to destroy the health-insurance industry in order to fully nationalize health care in the wake of the collapse of the industry. Whether or not that has been their intent, they couldn’t have possibly gone about destroying the industry in any better manner than what we’ve seen over the last year.

*Sigh*

You have two choices, either the Democrats are complete morons with no ounce of brain power, or they have been calculating and planning the overthrow of America for decades.

There’s really no other option left.

uknowmorethanme on April 21, 2010 at 4:21 PM

I am shocked….SHOCKED, I tell ya. Next thing you know, someone is going to tell me that they are going to try and tell restaurants how much salt they can use in their dishes……

search4truth on April 21, 2010 at 4:21 PM

Oh and Resident Obama said premiums with “reform” would go down by 2,500 dollars. Has that happened anywhere to any one? No???
seven on April 21, 2010 at 4:18 PM

No, he said they would go down by 3000% Yippee!!

Chip on April 21, 2010 at 4:22 PM

I’m sure crr6 could expound endlessly on that very fact.

Chip on April 21, 2010 at 4:19 PM

I don’t see how … all the little commie does is quote case law. It’s unable to articulate concepts.

darwin on April 21, 2010 at 4:23 PM

No, he said they would go down by 3000% Yippee!!

Chip on April 21, 2010 at 4:22 PM

Where’s my raise!!!!!!!!! He said I would get a raise too!

deidre on April 21, 2010 at 4:23 PM

Wyden said you can opt out, as a state.

Go gulching and opt out insurance, altogether.

Schadenfreude on April 21, 2010 at 4:23 PM

Ya see, the commerce clause both lets them force us to buy something. And it lets them set the price for that thing we must buy.
Cuz that’s how it was intended.
lorien1973 on April 21, 2010 at 4:08 PM

I’m sure crr6 could expound endlessly on that very fact.

Cuz ya see, the Constitution wasn’t meant to be a Limitation on big government, but the exact opposite – a Golden ticket for big government.

/sarc

Chip on April 21, 2010 at 4:19 PM

Not only that, but the Commerce Clause actually gives the Feds the authority to control state regulations absent ANY interstate commerce! It’s a win-win for Communists like crr6!

Under the bill, the federal government could regulate rates in states where state officials did not have “sufficient authority and capability” to do so.

uknowmorethanme on April 21, 2010 at 4:24 PM

Under the bill, the federal government could regulate rates in states where state officials did not have “sufficient authority and capability” to do so.

And one assumes it is the fed’s definition, not the states’, of “sufficient authority and capability” that will be used.

Potential for a Tenth Amendment challenge again. State sttorneys general, man the battle stations.

Wethal on April 21, 2010 at 4:24 PM

No, he said they would go down by 3000% Yippee!!

Chip on April 21, 2010 at 4:22 PM

The second coming is not smart.

Schadenfreude on April 21, 2010 at 4:24 PM

You have two choices, either the Democrats are complete morons with no ounce of brain power, or they have been calculating and planning the overthrow of America for decades.

There’s really no other option left.

uknowmorethanme on April 21, 2010 at 4:21 PM

Option 3: Drunken bull in a china shop

strictnein on April 21, 2010 at 4:28 PM

Public option here we come!!!

deidre on April 21, 2010 at 4:30 PM

“Unexpectedly,” of course.

J.E. Dyer on April 21, 2010 at 4:31 PM

There’s really no other option left.

uknowmorethanme on April 21, 2010 at 4:21 PM

Yes, there is – they are both. Beware of dangerous dummies. They don’t even know how much they hurt themselves, stupid slaves, gnats, sheep, except for their elitist ‘superior’ masters.

Schadenfreude on April 21, 2010 at 4:32 PM

Harkin et al are de facto communists who would rather that one man in govt make make one decision in the marketplace, rather than have 300M People making their own decisions every day.

The Italian FAscist term “totalitarian” was meant to indicate that the state had a role to play in the totality of life. They thought it was a good thing, and a label not to be shunned but embraced.

Harkin no doubt eschews the label, but is a Fascist just the same.

If we don’t stop these people, they’re gonna stop us.

Akzed on April 21, 2010 at 4:33 PM

Being a second year Insurance Agent, I think I’m going to go unexpectedly throw up.

kingsjester on April 21, 2010 at 4:34 PM

Americans don’t want it.

The great irony in the Obama administration’s latest expansion of entitlements, its massive commitment to health care, is that it has created one that most Americans don’t want. Poll after poll demonstrate that most Americans oppose the Democrats’ radical change to the U.S. health care system. Not only do they find it too expensive, but they dislike the specific adjustments that shift power and control away from the individual and place them in the hands of the federal government.

Schadenfreude on April 21, 2010 at 4:35 PM

Here is video that should cheer everyone up…

… and take your minds away from this never ending madness.

Enjoy!

Seven Percent Solution on April 21, 2010 at 4:36 PM

Ed -

Are you old enough to remember Nixon’s wage and price controls: phase 1, phase 2, phase 3, etc?

I remember hearing the principal of our school say that “as part of phase 4 of Nixon’s wage and price controls designed to stop inflation, as of next Monday the cost of school lunches would go up 35 cents.” I remember thinking “Well, that didn’t work, did it?”

If a 10 year old can figure that out, why can’t a US Senator?

(Of course, Harkin can be excused. He probably doesn’t know about it since he was in a fighter jet over Vietnam at the time.

/sarc)

Bobbertsan on April 21, 2010 at 4:38 PM

This is the moron who wants to run your life.

Akzed on April 21, 2010 at 4:38 PM

TENthers!!!

Seven Percent Solution on April 21, 2010 at 4:14 PM</blockquote

How true! Now the Commerce Clause give Congress the right to regulate intra-state commerce? How lovely is that! At this point, I think we should go back to the Articles of Confederation, and have a weak federal government. Give the States back their powers!

EliTheBean on April 21, 2010 at 4:38 PM

So where’s the surprise? Everyone knows this is the plan Barry laid out to Kucinich on Air Force One to get his “yes” vote.

There is nothing these liars and manipulators wouldn’t do to foist big and all-controlling government upon the US citizenry. And if they end up destroying everything that is good about the country–including our very freedom–in the process, so be it.

What a despicable bunch.

Meredith on April 21, 2010 at 4:43 PM

What a mess. It has only taken four years for the democrats to cause such damage that may take decades to fix.

Pelosi, Reid and Obama should be put on trail when government returns to the people.

carbon_footprint on April 21, 2010 at 4:43 PM

Carter had price controls on gas, that worked…we waited for hours to get gas…

right2bright on April 21, 2010 at 4:46 PM

If any lefty trolls show up on this thread (unlikely), let me ask you this: one of the reasons your side feigned outrage over the invasion of Iraq was because you said Bush was trying to avenge Saddam’s assassination attempt on Bush Sr. And that was not a good enough reason to go to war. Have you considered that your beloved Obama, known for his pettiness and spite (see Red States, post election visits to; funds allotted for) may be trying to destroy the insurance industry because of how they allegedly behaved towards his mother when she was ill and dying? If so, is that a good enough reason to destroy our health casre system and wipe his a$$ with the constitution in the process?

Kataklysmic on April 21, 2010 at 4:48 PM

No surprise to see Dung-Heap Harkin* calling for communist price controls, despite the various liberal Democrat assurances that “the laws of economics guarantee us that insurance premiums will do down”.

If you type “dung h” into Google, up pops Tom “Dung Heap” Harkin. Heh.

Jaibones on April 21, 2010 at 4:50 PM

Will someone be kind enough to tell me why a ‘monopoly’ in the free enterprise is an abomination but a monopoly in the ‘government’ is a-okay?!?

Ltlgeneral64 on April 21, 2010 at 4:51 PM

Ltlgeneral64 on April 21, 2010 at 4:51 PM

Cuz you’re a racist, that’s why.

lorien1973 on April 21, 2010 at 4:52 PM

Kataklysmic on April 21, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Yes
ccr6, Grow Fins etc

Aviator on April 21, 2010 at 4:52 PM

Well, now we know why the NYT, for the last few weeks, has been running stories about the effect ObamaCare will have on the insurance premiums.

29Victor on April 21, 2010 at 4:52 PM

Ltlgeneral64 on April 21, 2010 at 4:51 PM

Cuz you’re a racist, that’s why.

lorien1973 on April 21, 2010 at 4:52 PM

To expand on lorien1973′s point. “Shut up” and “I won.”

29Victor on April 21, 2010 at 4:53 PM

Kataklysmic on April 21, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Oh that’s excellent, I must use this.

lorien1973 on April 21, 2010 at 4:53 PM

So, the government tells insurance companies who they have to sell to and what they have to sell, and now it’s going to tell them what they’re allowed to charge for it?

But it’s not a government takeover. Oh, no.

I wonder if Congress’ll forbid them to go out of business. That’ll work.

S. Weasel on April 21, 2010 at 4:09 PM

Great summary. And with a few word changes it would describe the housing industry bust as well. I.e.

So, the government tells mortgage companies and banks who they have to lend to (unqualified buyers) and what they have to sell (ARMs / Interest Only loans / etc.), and now it’s going to tell them what they’re allowed to charge on interest for it?

BowHuntingTexas on April 21, 2010 at 4:55 PM

Ltlgeneral64 on April 21, 2010 at 4:51 PM
Cuz you’re a racist, that’s why.

lorien1973 on April 21, 2010 at 4:52 PM

Ha Ha…now that’s funny…

Ltlgeneral64 on April 21, 2010 at 4:55 PM

Some will claim that this has been the intent of Democrats all along

Well, unless they are absolute IDIOTS, it sure as hell seems that this has been their intent all along.

GarandFan on April 21, 2010 at 4:55 PM

Democrat congressman to wife of sick husband,

“I’ve good news and bad news:

“Good news, your husband is no longer sick.”

“Bad news … he’s dead.”

Rod on April 21, 2010 at 4:56 PM

Skandia Recluse on April 21, 2010 at 4:21 PM

Whoa there buckeroo not all Iowans send this lyin, commie crapweasal to D.C.
Only the enlightened academia and city dwellers in the eastern 1/2 of the state, where all our tax money goes, send this guy, who actually lives in the Bahamas next to those convenient offshore banks, and only comes to IA to campaign and dodge townhalls in any except liberal nirvahna towns.

harkin is a committed socialist mascarading as an American and thins he is always the smartest guy in the room which he would not be even if he was in a 6×6 room with bars where he belongs.

I think he actually fell over the border from Chicago and began seelling snake oil to the woderfully intelligent folks in the university cities of eastern IA and Des Moines.

Lots of us westerners would prefer to draw the state line about I-35 and join South Dakota or force the eastern freedom and liberty destroyers to join ILL.
NE is out of the question cause they have Traitor Ben Nelson enlightening them out there on the wonderful benefits of Obamcare. ( Another lyin skunk who is safe for a couple of more years)

Harkin is a liar (lied about his service record) and a crook, prolly with lots of cash in Bahama banks.

dhunter on April 21, 2010 at 4:57 PM

What a mess. It has only taken four years for the democrats to cause such damage that may take decades to fix.

Pelosi, Reid and Obama should be put on trail when government returns to the people.

carbon_footprint on April 21, 2010 at 4:43 PM

I’m afraid we won’t undo this damage my friend. (not to be confused with mccain’s “my friends”) not even reagan was able to roll back any part of the socialist state..

the die is cast….

right4life on April 21, 2010 at 4:57 PM


Will someone be kind enough to tell me why a ‘monopoly’ in the free enterprise is an abomination but a monopoly in the ‘government’ is a-okay?!?


Ltlgeneral64 on April 21, 2010 at 4:51 PM

Good question – that’s something I would like to know.

Chip on April 21, 2010 at 4:57 PM

Some will claim that this has been the intent of Democrats all along; they want to destroy the health-insurance industry in order to fully nationalize health care in the wake of the collapse of the industry.

I’m in that some.

Daggett on April 21, 2010 at 4:59 PM

This just shows what a bunch idiots they are. It also shows the obvious, that not a one of the dims read the bill they voted ‘YES’ for.

belad on April 21, 2010 at 5:00 PM

Will someone be kind enough to tell me why a ‘monopoly’ in the free enterprise is an abomination but a monopoly in the ‘government’ is a-okay?!?

Ltlgeneral64 on April 21, 2010 at 4:51 PM

Because government monopolies are efficient and cost-effective and increase revenues without raising taxes.

Just look at the post office, for example.

Daggett on April 21, 2010 at 5:00 PM

Ltlgeneral64 on April 21, 2010 at 4:51 PM
Cuz you’re a racist, that’s why.

lorien1973 on April 21, 2010 at 4:52 PM
To expand on lorien1973’s point. “Shut up” and “I won.”

29Victor on April 21, 2010 at 4:53 PM

Yes, that’s right…’He Won’ so that makes it okay for our elected officials to break laws…I simply forgot that…

Also, it occured to me that ‘He’ has said that this is better for us a gazillion times so it is NOW true…

Ltlgeneral64 on April 21, 2010 at 5:00 PM

Wait, where’s my 3000% decrease?

kooly on April 21, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Sorry. That’s the decrease in your coverage, not your premium. It’s in the bill!

Scott P on April 21, 2010 at 5:02 PM

Where’s AnninCA with some inane drivel about insurance companies dropping sick people? Hey Ann, just wait and see how good the government is at denying claims! You’ll be praying Blue Cross/Blue Shield covers your sorry @$$, while the government fiddles with the paperwork, and finally approves your state regulated coffin.
I hear that it’s a constant 55° six feet under.

mossberg500 on April 21, 2010 at 5:02 PM

Dear Democratic State Commissioner of Insurance,
As soon as the Federal Government is the responsible party for regulating my insurance, we won’t need you. We will no longer need to support your candidacy for office. We will no longer need the bureaucrats in your office, they will be federal workers. You will be fired.

Please be sure to thank your friend the blue dog democrat House member and the “conservative” democrat Senator for you losing your job.

barnone on April 21, 2010 at 5:03 PM

My God when will the bad dream end??????

xler8bmw on April 21, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Want to know the best part of this?

While they scheme to have a single regulator of insurance rates, Democrats are about to shove through a bill that would ELIMINATE a single regulator and national standards for banking and allow all 50 states and the District of Columbia to regulate national banks.

rockmom on April 21, 2010 at 5:13 PM

Where is my 3000%?

Sir Napsalot on April 21, 2010 at 5:16 PM

Antidote for arsenic is hemlock.

kurtzz3 on April 21, 2010 at 5:16 PM

My God when will the bad dream end??????

Bad dreams are hereby deemed an illegal sleeping disorder in the Age of Obamao, punishably with fines and incarceration. Better off not sleeping.

mossberg500 on April 21, 2010 at 5:17 PM

Diagnostic imaging is a huge cost driver for health care and ultimately insurance companies. Over the last five years the number of Cat Scans and MRIs performed through hospitals and out patient imaging centers has increased by multiples.

Imaging is great and certainly helps save lives and improve outcomes but it is expensive. So if cost containment is mandated from on high, we will see diagnostic imaging impacted disproportionately.

One can extrapolate out the natural impact of this Washington based impulse. The number of sophisticated imaging machines in socialized health systems is paltry by comparison with the US. This is a significant advantage for US health care. But as we begin to transform into a government run system, we will see fewer machines and substantially longer wait times and imaging denials for some patients.

This will be the epicenter of the crash along with surgical access. The result will be many more unnecessary deaths from pulmonary embolism, cancers, bleeds, more advanced pathologies and tumors and such. This is the unfortunate reality of Obama Care. This is where the rubber meets the road and where an unfortunately growing number of Americans will receive a death sentence.

One cannot artificially push down prices without resulting in negative externalities.

R Square on April 21, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Classic bait and switch. If you like your current doctor and health care plan – tough! Conservatives need to push hard to elect people who will defund this disaster and then repeal it so that it can be replaced with something that is actually workable and sane.

College Prof on April 21, 2010 at 5:27 PM

As if,

regulating insurance rates was all we have to be worried about.

franksalterego on April 21, 2010 at 5:32 PM

I love their faux surprise, as if they hadn’t considered this before they passed the POS bill. And where are our disingenuous trolls who pooh-poohed this when we speculated it would happen? Prepare yourselves: Price fixing was at the heart of Wickard v. Filburn so expect another condescending lesson on the Commerce Clause in 5, 4, 3, . . .

NoLeftTurn on April 21, 2010 at 5:44 PM

Being a second year Insurance Agent, I think I’m going to go unexpectedly throw up.

kingsjester on April 21, 2010 at 4:34 PM

I am in the same boat as you. The wife is in the biz also.

Dire Straits on April 21, 2010 at 5:47 PM

Maybe wrong but I would think this will be legally challenged BIG TIME by the states. Would it not?

Dire Straits on April 21, 2010 at 5:49 PM

The good people of Iowa keep sending the National Socialist Harkin back to Washington so one can only conclude that the good people of Iowa are socialists who would be happier just turning their farms and businesses over to the government to run while they remain as caretaker managers.

Skandia Recluse on April 21, 2010 at 4:21 PM

Nobody touches farm subsidies. Not much in our government is more socialist than that.

petunia on April 21, 2010 at 5:55 PM

Nobody touches farm subsidies. Not much in our government is more socialist than that.

Can you say “ethanol?”

mossberg500 on April 21, 2010 at 6:00 PM

I’m afraid we won’t undo this damage my friend. (not to be confused with mccain’s “my friends”) not even reagan was able to roll back any part of the socialist state..

the die is cast….

right4life on April 21, 2010 at 4:57 PM

NO we will fix this. I don’t know how but we will.

The difference this time is that they passed this against the will of the people. All other social programs had public support.

This can be undone.

petunia on April 21, 2010 at 6:01 PM

I’m afraid we won’t undo this damage my friend. (not to be confused with mccain’s “my friends”) not even reagan was able to roll back any part of the socialist state..

the die is cast….

right4life on April 21, 2010 at 4:57 PM

NO we will fix this. I don’t know how but we will.

The difference this time is that they passed this against the will of the people. All other social programs had public support.

This can be undone.

petunia on April 21, 2010 at 6:01 PM

We also have better information and communications systems than ever before. It’s a new world and we have better means to acquire information, organize ourselves and effect meaningful change (boy, I’ve come to hate that word.) A deeply unpopular piece of legislation can be reversed, although it will take time.

We’re going to be reaping the taxes, higher costs and health care shortages on the front end and the majority of us will see the hurt without any of the benefits. Remember, the vast majority of us were happy with our healthcare, but we will be paying more for poorer care– thank you Obama, please sir, may I have some more?

obladioblada on April 21, 2010 at 6:46 PM

Sounds like it will soon be time for a Cayman Island-based health insurance company that will provide hard cash to those insured for doctor bills. That will work until the law forbids doctors from being paid by anyone else other than the government.

btw, I heard a presentation today by one of the gnomes involved in the “renovation” of healthcare IT/medical records today. Hospitals and providers must spend millions to convert to non-existing electronic medical records technology (that all interoperates, of course) in the next few years or face a 20% reduction in Medicare reimbursements. So these idiots aren’t just running health insurers out of business, they will run the healthcare providers out of business as well.

Spare me from the arrogance of those who not only think they have all the answers but know all the questions as well.

iconoclast on April 21, 2010 at 7:07 PM

Now we know the real reason Waxman cancelled his inquisition.He didn’t get the memo about the premium prices.I would have loved for him to be grilling CEO’s while Gen or Sgt or( whatever he says he was) Harkin is bringing his insurance cap bill to the floor.That would have been f’n gold.

docflash on April 21, 2010 at 7:53 PM

Fearing that health insurance premiums may shoot up in the next few years, Senate Democrats laid a foundation on Tuesday for federal regulation of rates, four weeks after President Obama signed a law intended to rein in soaring health costs.

Regulating insurance rates does absolutely nothing to lower costs. It’s like saying that controlling car insurance rates will make a replacement fender cheaper.

Dumba$$es.

BacaDog on April 21, 2010 at 7:57 PM

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