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.

Birthday

Today my first-born son is 34 years old. It seems like he was just a baby yesterday, and I wasn’t much older.

I didn’t know it was possible to love someone that much until this five-weeks-premature space alien bobbled his head to one side and looked directly into my eyes. And I knew right away I would kill to protect him.

Which was good, because the six months of colic might have driven me over the edge if I didn’t love him so much.

Happy birthday, Mike!

Gratifying

I wish more states would do this, since the feds haven’t done a damned thing to punish the banks:

New Mexico’s House of Representatives voted Monday to pass a bill that allows the state to move $2 billion – $5 billion of state funds to credit unions and small banks.

The municipal funds bill was approved 65-0, and is subject to a vote by New Mexico’s Senate. Governor Bill Richardson told the bill’s sponsor that he supports the legislation.

Credit Union Times spoke to one banker who believes that the bill got a boost from Huffington Post’s Move Your Money campaign:

The altered view of New Mexico lawmakers in favoring local control of state funds, officials said, follows national mention of the New Mexico effort in the “Move Your Money” campaign of New York pundit Arianna Huffington in her online Huffington Post columns.

My Favorite Things

Oprah and Ellen both have this deal where they give things they really like to everyone in their audience. And while I certainly can’t afford to do that, I do like to turn people on to things I find useful.

One of the things I really love is my Theracane.

The first time I saw one, I said to my massage therapist, “What’s that, a sex toy?” He laughed and said no, it was a massage tool.

He urged me to get one. He said it would really help me during the times I had a muscle spasm, etc. and couldn’t get hold of him.

If there was a fire and I had to grab something on my way out, I think I’d grab this. Really, I love it that much.

One of the things I’m learning from working with him is how many dysfunctional ways our bodies adjust to being out of balance – usually by locking our muscles into a painful pattern to compensate. He told me I should take the Theracane and just use it while I’m sitting around to break up those knots, that it would really speed up my recovery.

Like just now, when I came in from shoveling. I already know which muscles to work on to avoid those aches and pains. And I use it all the time when I’m sitting at the computer.

This thing is a lifesaver, I can’t recommend it enough. (I think I paid $30 for it. Worth every damned penny!)

Think You Can Fool Me?

Hah. We’re now in that sneaky lull before the “real” storm (the part with the blizzard conditions) where the snow appears to have stopped, and people who don’t believe in watching TV weather reports are gonna get fooled big time.

But I’m going to go out and clean off my car, because the sleet will be a lot harder to get off when it has another foot of snow on top.

UPDATE: Most of my neighbors are out, doing the same thing. It’s a very heavy, wet snow because we had rain on top of it, so everyone’s cleaning off what they can now.

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