So it begins. Quite possibly the beginning of the 21st century American civil war is underway. It remains to be seen whether the bloodshed will parrallell the 1800’s, but it is assured that the financial hemorrhage will be comparable. The effects of sweeping, comprehensive Obamacare reforms will begin to take effect shortly, and soon, the worst fears of Americans will be realized. For citizens in Connecticut, these fears have already materialized.
“Health Care Reform Blamed for Huge Hike in Premiums,” read the headline of NBC’s local beat story. Get used to seeing it too.
According to the article:
The state has given Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield the go ahead to raise premiums by as much as 47 percent for some members, and says health care reform is the reason why.
According to Insurance Commissioner Thomas Sullivan, it could have been worse:
The rates granted were reduced from the company’s original request of 39 percent to 58 percent increases.
The Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal addressed the premium hikes, labelling them as “excessive increases… approved without full consideration of all the facts.”
As much as I would like to believe Blumenthal, he is wrong in some of his assessment. Are the premium increases excessive? Absolutely. Are they necessary given “full consideration of all the facts?” Unfortunately yes.
Sullivan is in a tough spot. He has to facilitate federal legislation that makes it necessary for care providers to blast costs sky-high. He has to approve increases in premiums because of mandates in Obamacare that would cripple these providers otherwise. Blumenthal has a valid complaint, and it is a complaint that many Americans will come to realize over the coming weeks. Yet, for the moment it is neither in the hands of the Attorney General nor the Insurance Commissioner. They must each do their own duties. One must protest the obscenity of these costs, and the other must affirm their necessity.
This situation is described quite coherently in Sullivan’s response to Blumenthal’s outrage:
“I find myself in an unprecedented place and time, as do my counterparts throughout the country, in overseeing one of the most far-reaching policy initiatives enacted by the federal government in recent history. It is unfortunate that this reform, while addressing insurer behavior, has provided little to no reform of the escalating costs of the health care delivery system. If the attorney general wants to complain to someone, he should complain to Congress.”
He’s right. And many are. It will take some time until the final verdict of the suit against Obamacare is reached. Let’s hope the suit is successful, or there might be just as much blood lost as money.