Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Jamie Court: Time For Obama To Get Tough On Insurers With Rate Freeze Via Executive Order

Obama’s mad about insurers blaming his health care plan for big rate hikes, but he doesn’t have to take it any more. He can and should issue and executive order to stop the rate hikes immediately.

A Blue Cross policyholder emailed me last night about her recent 20 percent rate hike, and now being pushed into a policy that costs that much more and comes with a $7500 deductible. Her insurer’s response: blame the president and his “10,000 page legislation.”

That’s electioneering in my book. The President needs to fire back, and protect customers, as well as the integrity of his patient protection act. This is the type of out of the box thinking that Americans expect from their President, and he has yet to deliver.

Consumer Watchdog today wrote the President asking that he freeze health insurance premiums to protect consumers from unjustified and unreasonable increases until new rules under the health reform law requiring public justification of unreasonable premium hikes take effect later this year.

The Supreme Court has held that a President may issue an Executive Order where the President has been expressly or implicitly authorized to act by the Constitution or Congress. Under the federal health reform law, Congress expressly provided that, beginning with the 2010 plan year, health insurance companies cannot raise insurance premiums until insurers “submit to the Secretary and the relevant State a justification for an unreasonable premium increase prior to the implementation of the increase.” Here’s the reasoning behind the executive order: HHS is working to finalize regulations by the end of 2010 defining an “unreasonable premium increase.” It’s not yet possible for regulators to determine which premium increases require a justification from insurers. So an Executive Order freezing premium increases until insurers have justified increases deemed unreasonable is necessary to implement the express requirements of the federal law. There is precedent for the success of such a freeze. In California, Proposition 103 enacted the nation’s strongest prior approval system for property and casualty rate regulation in 1988. California’s insurance commissioner ordered a freeze on all rates until implementing regulations were enacted, and insurers complied. Despite claims that the freeze and new regulation would drive insurers out of the state, or out of business, the state’s auto insurance market is the 4th most competitive in the nation and stayed profitable, while auto insurance premiums rose at the slowest rate in the nation, according to a 2008 analysis by the Consumer Federation of America. An Executive Order establishing the premium freeze could be written to end when those regulations become effective, thus allowing premium increases to go into effect only after unreasonable increases are justified by insurers as intended by Congress. Will Obama get tough on insurers? He has the power, now he just needs the presidential will. This article appeared originally on The Huffington Post. Jamie Court is the author of The Progressive’s Guide to Raising Hell, available now.

Use Systems Thinking to Make Lasting Social Change

What can be done when our best intentions create unintended problems—such as temporary shelters increasing homelessness or food aid accelerating starvation?After decades of helping change-makers in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors address tough social problems, systems-thinking expert David Stroh shares the pioneering framework that both demystifies systems thinking and shows how it can lead […] Read More..

Let’s Make Bernie Sanders a Bestseller!

As the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders continues to climb in the polls, crushing online fundraising records and frustrating party insiders and pundits along the way, we’re looking to put Bernie’s message on bestseller lists everywhere in time for the national debates this fall!With the second Democratic debate to be held on November 14th in Des Moines, it’s […] Read More..

Bern Baby Bern!

Feel the Bern, now read the Bern. Chelsea Green is bringing out the first major book chronicling the issues being raised by US Senator Bernie Sanders in his campaign for president of the United States. The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America is the only book that outlines, in Sanders’ own words and […] Read More..

Economic Development is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It

Economic development today is completely broken. That’s the argument of author Michael Shuman in his new book, The Local Economy Solution. The singular focus on attracting global corporations is not just ineffective but counterproductive, Shuman argues, especially given the huge opportunity costs. Indeed, it’s not far-fetched to suggest that the best way most communities can […] Read More..

5 Shareable Strategies for Creating Climate Action

Frustrated about climate change? You’re not alone. Most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of depressed about our climate situation to flat-out denying that it exists. In fact, the more information about global warming that piles up, the less we seem to do to combat it. What is the reason for this […] Read More..
Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By