The Corner

Sebelius Warns Insurers that Rate Hikes Could Lead to Government Review

Starting in 2011, insurers who serve the small group or individual markets and who raise rates by 10 percent or more will need to disclose and publicly justify the rate increases, announced Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius today.

In states with review policies for insurers already in place, the rate review will be conducted locally, according to the proposed HHS regulations. If there is no policy in the state, the HHS will handle the review.

While the HHS lacks the authority to ban rate increases, the department clearly hopes the public pressure will force insurance companies to forgo hikes deemed excessive. In addition, beginning in 2014, Sebelius can refuse to allow an insurer participate in the government-run state health care exchanges President Obama’s health-care legislation creates.

“Year after year, insurance company profits soar, while Americans pay more for less health care coverage,” Sebelius said in a statement. “The Affordable Care Act is bringing unprecedented transparency and oversight to insurance premiums to help reign in the kind of excessive and unreasonable rate increases that have made insurance unaffordable for so many families.”

In February, a month before the health-care law was passed, President Obama unsuccessfully pushed lawmakers to add language allowing U.S. government officials to prohibit insurance companies from raising rates to levels considered unreasonable.

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More