A snow-buried capital slowed many DC-based bloggers’ production (cabin fever, perhaps?) but some are reflecting on the administration’s public rebuke of health insurer Anthem Blue Cross. The California for-profit company announced rate increases Monday of as much as 39% for many individual plans.
Time’s Karen Tumulty says the insurer is “[making] the case for health reform.”
But Insure Blog’s Bob Vineyard disagrees — he says, “Seems to me it is evidence that Blue is doing something right. In contrast, the folks in Washington can’t balance a budget. So who are they to be giving financial advice on how to run a company?” He also points to the administration’s concerns as proof that it doesn’t understand the relationship between the overall rate of inflation and health insurance premiums.
Bob Laszewski, a former health insurance exec, says “When the day is done this probably says more about why systemic health care reform is so critical than about any one company’s behavior. Last week we heard national health care spending skyrocketed to 17.3% of the economy. This is a real life example of what that macroeconomic statistic really means. … What Wellpoint needs to do, and do yesterday, about these increases is to be transparent. Put all of the facts on the table.”
According to The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn, “most likely, a slow economy isn’t the only culprit here. It appears, based on press accounts, that not all Anthem beneficiaries are seeing such huge rate increases. Only some are. If so, there’s more to this story.” Cohn digs into the policy reasons for an increase, and argues that the “story should get everybody’s attention” because the number of Americans seeking insurance on the individual market is likely to grow.
Elsewhere, Hot Air’s Allah Pundit mulls whether Republicans should participate in President Barack Obama’s proposed health care ’summit:’ “Granted, it’s a meaningless televised photo op which Obama wants to use to prove his bipartisanship and to poke holes in the GOP’s health care policy recommendations, but it’s also a forum at which Republicans can challenge the cost projections and the consequences of the individual mandate.”
And the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein interviews Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander on whether he thinks a pared-down health overhaul bill could help rein in rising costs.