FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
President Obama is finally out with his own detailed plan when it comes to health care reform. Some have been asking for this for months.
But the timing is a little suspect. The president's grand plan comes just four days before the televised, bipartisan, health care extravaganza... where Republicans are supposed to bring all their ideas to the table for fixing health care.
Yet it sounds like if the Republicans aren't on board... the president will get the Democrats to jam through this plan without approval of the GOP.
The White House Communications Director says the president "expects and believes the American people deserve an up or down vote on health care"... and, if the Republicans are intent on filibustering, the Democrats might use a procedural move called "reconciliation" - where they only need a simple 51-vote majority.
Meanwhile as part of the president's plan, the federal government would get new authority to regulate the health insurance industry - almost like a public utility. This comes in the wake of outrage over recent premium increases of up to 39 percent by one California health insurance company.
The health and human services secretary - along with state authorities - would be able to deny substantial premium increases, limit them... or even demand rebates for consumers. In the past, oversight of insurance companies has been left up to the states. But the president's proposal calls for a new seven member Health Insurance Rate Authority to monitor the industry and come out with an annual report setting the guidelines for reasonable rate increases.
Here’s my question to you: Should the government be able to control how much health insurance companies charge?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
It is a must to regulate how much they charge! I've seen my premiums soar over $200 a month during the last 6 years. A premium of over $800 a month leaves me with around $300 a month in my teacher retirement check. It seems I taught 23 years for health insurance. Check their profits–it's criminal what they charge–but what can you do?
Donna in Marion, Illinois writes:
The government already has too much control. If Obama has his way, the government will control every aspect of our lives. We are heading more and more towards a socialistic society. Enough. Keep the government out of private business.
Jack, Yes, and the reason being "no one else will." I'm sick of paying $164 week for a plan that has a $7,500 deductible and a $5,000 out-of-pocket expense and does not pay for annual physicals or paps, etc. I personally paid for all of my preventive care last year even though I have a health insurance plan through my husband's employer. My husband's company has just been notified of a 23% increase, for what? Crappy coverage.
Does the government control how much other merchandise or services cost? Should they control house and apartment prices? Why should any companies be subject to big government control? Competition in a free marketplace is what drives prices down… As a great former President said, "Government is the problem, not the solution."
Hell, yes, it should be controlled. And, yes it should be treated as a utility. It’s something necessary like running water or electricity.
Sterling in Aspen, Colorado writes:
The proposed health-care reform bill is a bailout for the private health insurance industry. We've got to allow them to charge enough to pay their lobbyists to usher this can of worms through Congress.
Pete in Brevard, North Carolina writes:
Absolutely! My Medicare Advantage premiums went up this year, 408%. That is not a misprint.