“When in doubt, blame the private sector” seems to be the official mantra of the Obama White House when it comes to attempting to micromanage the economy. Barack Obama’s latest finger pointing: blaming premium hikes on greedy insurance companies, not the individual mandate that drove up insurance costs in the first place.
John Merline explains the absurdity of this claim in Investor’s Business Daily:
President Obama is already pointing the finger of blame at greedy insurance companies for what many expect will be huge ObamaCare premium hikes when people go to sign up for their 2016 health insurance. On his ObamaCare victory tour last week after the Supreme Court ruling on insurance subsidies, Obama bragged at an event in Tennessee about the many wonderful aspects of the law, including the fact that “we’re actually seeing less health care inflation.”
But then a questioner had the temerity to ask Obama about massive rate hikes in the state: “I don’t know if you’re aware,” the questioner said, “that BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has announced a significant increase after the one that they gave from 2014 to 2015.” BCBS is asking for a 36.3% hike in premiums this year, on top of the 18%-plus increase they got last year, because “claims significantly exceed the premiums collected.”
Obama’s response was to tell her to “stay on your insurance commissioner, pay attention to what they’re doing.” Those insurance companies, he said, always ask for sky-high rate increases, and if the commissioner “does their job in not just passively reviewing the rates” then rates will “come in significantly lower than what’s being requested.”
Here’s the thing- cost increases don’t just happen in a vacuum. If prices go up, somebody has to pay for it. And it’s not going to be the insurance companies, it’s going to be us, the consumers.
Merline highlighted this point in his analysis:
…regulators have to make sure their insurance markets don’t collapse. And the big insurers asking for double-digit rate hikes are backing those requests up with cold hard claims data which show that costs per enrollee are far higher than expected. (Which is what critics of the law said would happen.)
But enough about facts. When in doubt, blame the private sector!