The attacks on insurance companies continue this morning, with Matt Drudge linking to the “Healthcare overhaul won’t stop premium increases” story at the Lost Angeles Times. Not once – not once – does the Times look into why the premiums are increasing.
Noam N. Levey immediately mentions the public outcry at double-digit premiums in his article this morning, and he continues to refer to “major companies” who are going to “boost premiums”, and how some states and the federal government are powerless to prevent “insurance company” increases throughout his piece.
Levey seems to have had an opportunity to take a close look at why premiums are increasing, but instead, he simply wrote about how difficult it was for the government to do anything to stop it. My emphasis is in bold.
Although Democrats promised greater consumer protection, the overhaul does not give the federal government broad regulatory power to prevent increases.
Many state governments — which traditionally had responsibility for regulating insurance companies — also do not have such authority. And several that do are now being sued by insurance companies.
“It is a very big loophole in health reform,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said. Feinstein and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) are pushing legislation to expand federal and state authority to prevent insurance companies from boosting rates excessively.
At least in the short term, regulators will be able to do little more than require insurers to publicly explain why they want to raise rates. Consumer advocates think that will not be an effective deterrent against premium increases such as the 39% hike that Anthem Blue Cross sent some California customers last year.
“The irony here is that it was the Anthem rate increase that breathed new life into the healthcare bill,” said Jerry Flanagan, medical policy director of Consumer Watchdog, a longtime supporter of tougher premium regulation. “But there is nothing in this bill to guarantee that it doesn’t happen again.”
The article continues to mention insurance companies and their rate increases. But the fact remains insurance companies themselves are only responsible for 5 percent of the total in premium increases, and that’s not a statistic provided by insurance lobby groups, it’s data specifically from the federal government.
On March 20 I wrote about the distribution of premium increases and how the bulk of the increases – 95 percent – are tied to factors other than health insurance companies themselves.
Health care insurance companies are responsible for about 5 percent of premium increases, the remainder of increases – 95 cents of every dollar – can be directly attributed to increased costs at the provider level. Providers include hospitals, physicians and other health care professionals.
Makes you wonder why the president and members of Congress get on TV and continually bash the evil insurance companies, and ignore 95 percent or more of the cost equation. Or maybe we already know? During the past decade, the left has selectively targeted certain industries including big oil, big bank and the evil health care insurance companies in favor of the working man.
It’s part of the playbook. Create class warfare between individuals and some grand corporate identity which “makes billions” and is run by a few nameless elites making $100 million each pulling our collective strings while deciding who lives and who dies. Pure deception, and Americans fall for it.
When the media puts a clear spin on health reform, toting the president’s line as he defends against “big health insurance” for years and years, I call this journalistic malpractice.
Can readers get out on the Internet and please try to find stories breaking down the premium increases? You won’t find a main stream media story like mine, simply because reporting on such facts is not part of the liberal playbook. (OK, maybe you will, but I could not find one.) Like I said, insurance companies with “billions” in revenue are attractive targets for liberals who must have scapegoats to forward their agenda.