...the Obama administration called on health plans to stop "misinformation and scare tactics" about the healthcare reform law... The administration's letter to America's Health Insurance Plans comes after several health plans told customers that they were raising rates in part because of the new law. In it, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius warned: "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."
Sebelius acknowledges that the new law will cause an increase in premiums, albeit "minimal."
"According to our analysis and those of some industry and academic experts, any potential premium impact from the new consumer protections and increased quality provisions under the Affordable Care Act will be minimal," she writes. "We estimate that that the effect will be no more than one to two percent."
Excessive premium hikes, Sebelius warns, will not be tolerated.
"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."
The Obama-Pelosi-Reid Democrats are among the most outrageous economic illiterates the world has ever seen. On the one hand, they command health insurers to increase the age of covered children from the ages of 21 to 26. On the other hand, as premiums inevitably rise as a result of their inane diktats, they screech at the evil insurers. But it is the insurers who actually have underwriting standards, actuarial calculations and understand the health insurance business. Sebelius and her bureaucrats understand little or none of the reality of health insurance. They are Soviet-style central planners -- and nothing more.
Here's proof: remember this story from earlier in the year?
Venezuela president Hugo Chávez warns shops not to raise prices
President Hugo Chávez has ordered Venezuelan troops to raid shops and businesses that raise prices today in the wake of a big currency devaluation.
"Right now, there is absolutely no reason for anybody to be raising prices of absolutely anything," he said yesterday . "I want the national guard on the streets with the people to fight against speculation. Publicly denounce the speculator and we will intervene in any business of any size."
...Speaking on his weekly TV show yesterday, Chávez said blame for any price rises would lie with speculators. The socialist leader told his defence minister to prepare an "offensive" against speculators and gave out telephone numbers to report price gouging.
Sebelius and Chavez have helpfully illustrated for us the madness of socialism: when the central planners' plans fail -- as they inevitably do -- they blame not themselves, but their victims. They do so because their failed ideology commands them to seek ever more power, more control, more authority. To do so, they must steal it from you.
The health insurance industry is simply a metaphor for you. It could be the oil companies. Or the drug companies. Or the coal companies. Or the doctors. Or the patients.
Big government is never to blame. Only you are. And therefore you must surrender more and more of your liberty to the government.
There's a word for this: it's called tyranny.
November will determine whether we begin to resist the slow descent into a Venezuelan-style failed society -- or we resurrect our once-proud Constitutional republic--where the government is limited, not the individual.