Quote-of-the-day mailing list
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: qotd: Private insurers continue with unreasonable premium
Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2013 08:31:22 -0800
From: Don McCanne <email@example.com>
To: Quote-of-the-Day <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Los Angeles Times
March 6, 2013
Blue Shield and Aetna to raise healthcare rates over state objections
By Chad Terhune
Despite objections from regulators, health insurers Blue Shield of
California and Aetna Inc. are proceeding with double-digit rate
increases that state officials said were unreasonable.
Officials at the California Department of Managed Health Care said
increases that average more than 11% for about 47,000 individual and
small-business policyholders of Blue Shield and Aetna were unreasonable.
But state officials don't have the authority to reject changes in
premiums, and increasingly health insurers refuse state demands to lower
"I am disappointed that after lengthy negotiations, Blue Shield and
Aetna were unwilling to bring their proposed health plan increases down
to a reasonable level," said Brent Barnhart, director of the Department
of Managed Health Care.
Last year, Aetna led the way for the industry's more defiant stance by
proceeding with an 8% rate hike on some small-business policyholders
despite objections from the state insurance department. In January,
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones scolded Anthem for
proceeding with an 11% premium hike for small businesses that he
determined was excessive.
Comment: It is no surprise that in California - a state that can review
insurance premium increases but has no power to control them - private
insurers are proceeding with premium increases deemed to be
unreasonable. The surprise is that our elected representatives continue
to keep in charge of our health care spending an industry that uses us
as instruments to achieve their own business ends.
Imagine a scenario in which Medicare would demand unreasonable increases
in premiums. It would never happen. Medicare is a service model designed
to serve us, the people. Private insurers are business models designed
to serve their own business interests.
Did anyone ever think that it might be a good idea to dismiss the
private insurers and provide Medicare for all of us?