In a recent Wall Street Journal article by Janet Adamy the headline read “U.S. Rebukes Health Insurers.” In the article it shared that the Obama administration will “track those who enact unjustified rate increases linked to the health overhaul.” I find this statement very interesting. We are “threatening” health insurers for putting into place rate increases to reflect the new health reform act. This threat is coming from the same group that has yet to finalize the PPACA regulations –HHS. We are taking the caps off lifetime limits, including children to the age of 26, developing regulations on how to define a grandfathered plan from non-grandfathered plan. How can you add all these benefits and have no experience, and yet “threaten” the insurers if they raise rates?
I’m all about keeping people in check for unjustified price gouging but I would also hope the administration would issue the same threat to the medical community. If providers charge “unjustified” prices what are the ramifications? The insurers and providers must work together. If the current administration is only focusing on insurers we are in trouble. As Karen Ignagni, President of AHIP stated, “To suggest that cost containment can be achieved by singling out health plans ignores the very inconvenient truth that premium increases reflect increases in the underlying cost of medical services,” Ignangi says. “Regulating premiums won’t do anything to reduce the soaring costs of medical care. This would be like capping the prices automakers can charge consumers, but letting the steel rubber and technology manufacturers charge the automakers whatever they want.”
We must have a rational, transparent payment system in place.