President Obama has proposed
a bold idea for health care reform: giving the federal government
the power to regulate insurance premium increases. The proposal, a
reaction to recent premium hikes by several providers, will be part of
Obama's health care package, to be revealed today at 10 a.m. As Obama
and Congress look forward to Thursday's bipartisan health care summit,
this proposal is sure to shape discussion of how to reach an agreement
on reform. In terms of policy as well as politics, is the regulation
- A Big Compromise to Please All This is meant to forge common ground for both parties and both houses of Congress, write The New York Times' Robert Pear and David Herszenhorn.
"By focusing on the effort to tighten regulation of insurance costs, a
new element not included in either the House or Senate bills, Mr. Obama
is seizing on outrage over recent premium increases of up to 39 percent
announced by Anthem Blue Cross of California and moving to portray the
Democrats’ health overhaul as a way to protect Americans from
- Running Against the Insurers Politico's Patrick O'Connor writes,
"The proposal seems designed to play off voter anger toward recent
double-digit increases by Anthem Blue Cross of California and adds a
populist tinge to Obama's proposal, of the president standing up to big
insurance companies. The idea wasn’t included in either the House or
Senate health reform bills that passed last year."
- Good Policy, Better Politics The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn calls it
"not Earth-shattering" but a good step to "define a compromise that can
win majorities in the House and Senate." He writes, "It's an effort
to strengthen a regulatory backstop, in case all the other efforts to
cut costs and restrain premium growth don't work. And this sort of move
will inevitably raise questions about implementation and economic
efficiency--legitimate questions worth exploring in the coming days.
But, as I wrote, these regulations are already in place in many states.
And they seem to do some real good."
- White House Eager To Show 'Solutions' The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza says
the proposal is designed as "an attempt to frame the day (and week)
around the notion that the White House is offering solutions while
Republicans are simply roadblocking progress for political gain." He
adds of populist anger around health care reform, "Both Republicans and
Democrats want -- and need -- to get out in front of that anger for
fear that if they don't they'll find themselves on the business end of
- How It Would Work Politico's Mike Allen with the nitty-gritty:
The Health and Human Services Secretary will "establish a Health
Insurance Rate Authority composed of 7 members, including consumer
representatives, an insurance industry representative, a physician, and
experts in health economics, actuarial science, and related fields,
which will make recommendations to the Secretary on premium rate review
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