House To Investigate Anthem BC

From McJoan at DK:

The Obama administration has already sent a sternly-worded letter to Anthem Blue Cross over the company’s excessive rate increase for individual policy holders in California. How excessive? Up to 39 percent. But that’s not all. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield also informed their customers that they are changing their practice of adjusting rates annually, and as of now are reserving the right to raise premiums basically whenever they feel like it.

You got that? They want to do exactly what the credit card companies were doing.

There’s little beyond sternly-worded letters that the administration can do, other than something like maybe advocating strongly for some kind of legislative remedy, say in the form of serious competition to private insurers in the form of a robust public option for health insurance. But there’s something Congress can do, and that’s put the insurers on the hot seat and investigate. From the Speaker’s blog, The Gavel:

As Secretary Sebelius pointed out, WellPoint [parent company to Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield] reported a staggering $2,740,000,000 in profits for the fourth quarter of 2009 alone – eight times more than the last quarter of 2008 – and more than $4,750,000,000 for all of 2009. In fact, the company reaped these record profits even as it lost more than 1.4 million members…..

Today, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak announced that the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on February 24th regarding the premium rate increases.

The hearing, conveniently, will be held on February 24, the day before the bipartisan White House healthcare summit.

Deep Thought

I’m grateful I still have electricity. Lots of people lost power today, mostly in the burbs.

Paranormal Activity

I just watched it on cable. Omigod, it scared the shit out of me – and I don’t even believe in demons and that kind of stuff. (“The Exorcist” scared the bejesus out of me, too.)

Nothing like unexplained things that go bump in the night to make you a nervous wreck!

Krugman

Oh. My. God.

I can understand why Krugman’s shocked. He thinks honesty and leadership will reassure the public during these hard times, and can’t really appreciate the 11-dimensional chess thing.

It’s not working, but boy, it’s a thing of beauty, ain’t it?

And in a not-unrelated methaphor, the blizzard is finally here.

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