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Obama’s New Shame Police

A Picture of Abby Coleman Abby Coleman
01/29/2012

President Barack Obama promised he’d bring the cost of insurance premiums for families down by $2,500 by the end of his first term. If he wants to keep that promise, he’s got his work cut out for him this year. His latest plan certainly won’t do the job.

A recent survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found insurance premiums for family policies rose to more than $15,000 a year in 2011. That’s an increase of $1,300 over the past year for the average policy, the highest single-year premium hike since 2005, according to Kaiser.

What’s the administration planning to do about this? Well, given that insurance premiums have risen largely because of the mandates in Obama’s health care law – requirements to do all sorts of things that cost insurers more money – his administration recently declared … a public relations war.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently announced she’ll be highlighting rate hikes on a taxpayer-funded website, bringing the weapon of shame to bear on insurers who raise their prices too much for the administration’s liking.

Insurers that raise rates by 10 percent or more in any year will be forced to make a public case for their reasons for doing so, on the government Web site. Although some states have posted or released the results of rate reviews, Sebelius’ website will, she claims, weed out “unjustified” rate hikes which, in her words, go toward “advertising or big CEO salaries.”

Sebelius’s approach is much the same as in Massachusetts, where “emergency” regulations put in place by Democrat Gov. Deval Patrick sparked a court battle after his insurance department denied 235 of 274 increases proposed by insurers.

The obvious aim of the Obama administration’s project is to shame insurers who have to raise rates in order for their policies to make economic sense after filling all of Obama’s requirements, in order to keep from going out of business.

Imagine, if you will, that some product came onto the market that everyone wanted but was just too expensive. Say the iPhone 5 was priced $1,300 higher than the previous year’s edition. There would be a great deal of hue and cry. But after all, nobody has to buy one.

Not so under the Obama scheme. You have to buy one, so the administration will employ shame police who demand the folks at Apple publicly justify their outrageous pricing.

That is obviously unnecessary. If Apple decided to raise prices this way, lines outside the Apple stores would shrink dramatically as people surveyed the marketplace and found other, less expensive options. This is how marketplaces work – the people, not the government, decide what something is worth. The only reason health care is now the equivalent of a $1,600 iPhone is the government mandates that make it expensive. Remove the mandates, and the price will come down.

The Obama administration maintains it is better than you are at deciding what things are worth to you. This is par for the course for an administration that fundamentally fails to understand its policy decisions don’t apply to an imaginary world where government can control everything, but instead to a real world where people and firms respond to incentives and attacks, and not always in the way politicians might desire or expect.

When the administration issued vast new rules and regulations about who insurers have to cover and what services they have to provide, it apparently never realized those things would cost money, and a lot of it, which would have to be obtained from individuals in the form of higher premiums. Instead of revisiting whether these policies were all that necessary to begin with and worth the pain, all they propose to do now is blame the other guy.

 

By BENJAMIN DOMENECH / Managing editor of Health Care News and a research fellow at the Heartland Institute

3 Comments

  1. MAD MI MAN June 28, 2012

    SO let me get this much clear.. The issue with OBAMA CARE is that businesses who did not provide insurance for its employees will now have to, regardless if they like it or not; OR face fines and what not? SOO what’s happening is that these fking rich greedy small business owners that play by the book which means they charge top dollar for their services or products, in order to pay taxes and payroll and loans, are BITCHING about now having to pay for people to have ins when their only paying the employee like 9 10 fkin dollars anyway. SO these morons in this pathetic world are deciding to take the federal fine of a couple grand rather help provide ins for people, or CUT JOBS??? because it’s cheaper??? NOW leaving them to HAVE to get ins from the GOV, or face a fine themselves, and YOU PEOPLE are blaming OBAMA because of they way it’s set up??? FOR REAL??? WHy not blame the guy playing the game if they decide to be a part of it, that decides NOT to provide his or her employee ins, and NOT blame the guy trying to recover from a growing billion dollar debt in the healthcare system due to people without the ability to pay for service in order to keep them or their kids safe and healthy. Are you telling me a country filled with 100 million christians are MAD and having this huge debate about this and disrespect the very president we elected in his face like he is suppose to smile and give you a toy like a child that only spat in his face but cry like a baby when their not fully happy because they have to help pay for the cost to take care of our people and our nation?!?! WTF IS GOING ON IN THIS WORLD that people are so FAKE and pathetic they can’t see past the nightly news BS and complain about sharing like a 2 yr old yet calls them self a follower of Jesus.. lmao YEAH RIGHt!!!! lolololololol THIS is what people are fussing about.. Sharing a few dollars to help others get and maintain insurance and pay for the debt OUR country is in, and you are all worried about worried about who has to pay for what like a bad uncle that no one invites out to dinner because he makes eveyone pay on a their own bill and share the tip but doesn’t wan to pitch in.. LMAO! Bet these are the same people preaching SUPPORT OUR TROOPS but never do shit but say support our troops… lmao what a joke the people of this country have become. NO WONDER we must be controlled like slaves.. sad really.. sorry about the spelling for you terds that are now judging me because I miss spell words lol

  2. Yup Man June 29, 2012

    Agreed

  3. chadd June 29, 2012

    Obama worst president ever!!!

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