Saturday, 1 January 2011

Still More Gangster Government

Guest post by Jeff Perren

There is, sadly, more gangster government on display in the U.S. A new example arrives almost daily now. Merrill Matthews writing for Forbes has one.

"Take the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka, ObamaCare). The law empowers the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to monitor health insurance premium increases. If HHS bureaucrats identify increases they think are “unreasonable” — which they define, at least for now, as a 10 percent increase or higher in one year — they can begin to harass the company.


We had a taste of how the administration responds to what it considers to be unreasonable increases last fall when health insurers started raising their premiums to reflect the new benefits and “consumer protections” being forced on them under ObamaCare.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius pounced, sending a letter to America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), a health insurance trade association, asserting: “There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases. …. Simply stated, we will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections.”

Translation: We’re going to make your life miserable until you recognize there’s a new sheriff in town."

Yeah, like the Sheriff of Nottingham. Where's Robin Hood — or Ragnar Danneskjold, if you prefer — when you need him?


  1. Ah, whack-a-mole continues. The classic downward spiral of over-regulationism (socialism's cousin), which usually preditably increases costs, and one of the ways governments often try "cover up" the cost increases is by throwing even more over-regulation (like price controls) to "fix" the problems like price increases caused by the first rounds of over-regulation, to try hide the negative effects they've caused from the public.

    Of course it cannot really work and never ever works. If companies are forced to sell product at a loss, they usually either stop offering the product entirely or are forced to find other ways to operate, such as making the product worse for customers (for healthcare insurers this can be done by doing things like lowering payment ceilings, classifying more procedures as elective or cosmetic, removing medications from chronic benefit lists).

    And the downward spiral then continues, because then consumer cry out, then government blames it on the "evil capitalists" "profiteering" again, and uses the dissent to consolidate its power even further, e.g. justifying even further over-regulation and ultimately socialist power extension over the market.

    I don't know why in the US they don't do obvious things to improve health insurance costs like allowing providers to compete over state lines --- such artificial restrictions helped cause the very problems in the first place that led to the cry's for Obamacare.

    - DavidJ

  2. Sean Fitzpatrick5 Jan 2011, 08:39:00

    Very succinct and well put summary, DavidJ

  3. Thanks for that, PC.

    Check out my latest.


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