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American Opinion: On Obama and health insurance premiums

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American Opinion: On Obama and health insurance premiums
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

An excerpt from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States:

From The Associated Press

On Obama and health insurance premiums:

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President Barack Obama told health insurers on June 22 not to use health care reform as an excuse to raise the cost of premiums. The warning is timely. With critics still scare-mongering about the supposed cost of reform, insurers in several states have been seeking double-digit premium increases that look hard to justify as necessary to keep up with medical inflation.

The president acknowledged that there are a lot of factors driving up the cost of care. The health insurers have certainly perpetrated a lot of abuses over the years. But at least when it comes to who is responsible for relentlessly rising health care costs, that falls more on the hospitals, doctors and other providers who charge high prices and deliver more services than are medically necessary, and on the drug- and device-makers who push their most expensive products.

Even so, it will be important to monitor insurance rate increases carefully. And the Obama administration must be prepared to push hard. Unfortunately, the reform law did not give the federal government the power to regulate premiums. ...

The president also unveiled new regulations effective this year that should end some of the insurance companies' worst practices, such as rescinding policies for frivolous reasons after a person becomes sick; he thanked the industry for dropping this tactic earlier than required. He listed a number of other benefits that consumers will see soon, including a ban on lifetime coverage limits.

Obama vowed to defend the new law against Republican efforts to repeal or weaken it. He still needs to ignite strong popular support for reforms that could transform the American health care system. Requiring insurers to play fair is part of that effort.

-- The New York Times

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