This is What Obamacare Looks Like

John Stossel
Fox Business
6/8/2010

The Wall Street Journal reports this week on a threatening letter sent by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to insurance companies, regarding their upcoming bids for Medicare Advantage plans. (Medicare Advantage pays private insurers a set amount and typically the patient pays an additional premium.)

[Sebelius] warned the companies not to increase premiums…

… The health overhaul will impose drastic payment cuts to insurers that run [Medicare Advantage] plans, and consultants say insurance companies need to begin adapting now. … the law calls for a gradual reduction in government payments to insurers, totaling $136 billion

The Obama administration and Senate Democrats say that passing those costs [to seniors, through higher premiums] … is unfair. In her letter, Ms. Sebelius warned insurers that she will deny insurers bids if they include excessive price increases.

So follow that chain of events: the Obama Administration makes a $136 billion cut in Medicare Advantage to help pay for Obamacare. That means they pay $136 billion LESS to private insurers. So insurers increase premiums to cover the difference. The Obama Administration responds to this predictable course of events by … threatening insurance companies.

If this smells like a clumsy attempt to impose price controls on Medicare Advantage plans, well, that’s because it is.

The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle says we’ve seen this story before…

The article continues at Fox Business.

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