Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Commissar Sebelius To The Rescue!

The headline in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial reads: "Health insurers finally get some oversight."

The sub-head continues the theme:

"In the past, these companies ran wild with no accountability"

At least, according to Sec. of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, that is.

She must be right. There is no State Insurance Commissioner in every State of the Union. There aren't thousands of regulations dictating prices, terms of coverage, etc., etc. None of that existed until ObamaCare and the mighty Commissar Kathleen rode to the rescue of the proletariat. Missing her own irony, she lists several of them later in the editorial, including herself (as past commissioner in Kansas).

She begins:

In the last two weeks, my department has been accused of "thuggery" (this editorial page) and "Soviet tyranny" (Newt Gingrich). What prompted these accusations? The fact that we told health-insurance companies that, as required by law, we will review large premium increases and identify those that are unreasonable.
Nothing thuggish about violating the 4th and 5th Amendment protections of private property and voluntary trade, the sanctity of contract, et al, of course. But who needs them? It's comforting to know instead that my 'right' to health insurance is being protected by the pure and all-powerful Wizard of Health Care, no longer bound by any such quaint notions.

Can't these idiots at least go back to telling semi-plausible lies? They're making it far too easy on me.


Anonymous said...

Gee Kathleen,

How about telling the insurance companies that they would be subject to referral for prosecution if your department disagreed with their information distributed to their customers on the impact of Obamacare on their insurance coverage? From my perspective, that's the southern white sheriff informing the black man that his right to vote or to assemble has just been countermanded by the public interest as represented and promulgated by himself and his hooded cronies. Yes Kathleen, you are a thug. And, for bonus points, on the Federal Level. KKKudos to you!

C. Andrew

Katrina said...

I work in insurance and am constantly amazed by how unaware most people are of how regulated that industry is. Only banking is more regulated. Insurance has been regulated for its entire history, literally since Benjamin Franklin, but everyone seems to think there's some kind of wild west free market in insurance. Not the case at all.

Note also that Kathleen's own department acknowledged in a published report that new provisions passed with Obamacare would indeed increase premiums by exactly the amount the insurers are requesting. The audacity astounds me, but it really shouldn't at this point.

Michael Moeller said...

And how does one determine "unreasonable" rate increases? I guess I would wager not enough to make ObamaCare appear as the cause, but also not enough to cover the increasing costs that will cause the insurance companies to go bust and thus usher in single-payer. Wow, this new system is marvelous.

Jeff Perren said...

All good points.

If Sebelius wants to do some actual good in the health care arena, you know her job, she could start by rooting out the ongoing fraud in the department's own programs.

"[T]he Government Accountability Office reported on fraud problems with the Child Care and Development Fund program. Another new report from the GAO finds fraud problems with HHS’s Head Start program.

GAO investigators attempted to register children from fictitious families in Head Start programs in six states and the District of Columbia. The GAO created 13 fictitious families that earned too much income or possessed other characteristics that would disqualify the children from participating in Head Start. The result is embarrassing:

In 8 out of 13 eligibility tests, our families were told they were eligible for the program and instructed to attend class."