February 22nd, 2010
08:02 AM ET
8 years ago

Obama wants government power to block excessive health insurance rate hikes

President Obama wants the government to have the power to block excessive health insurance rate increases.

President Obama wants the government to have the power to block excessive health insurance rate increases.

Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration will propose legislation that would allow the government to block excessive rate increases by health insurance companies, a senior administration official told CNN Sunday.

The official could not speak on the record because the White House has not yet formally announced the proposal.

Word of the administration plan comes as the White House was to unveil President Barack Obama's latest health insurance reform proposal at 10 a.m. ET Monday.

The House and Senate have passed their own versions of health care reform. The new Obama plan is expected to attempt to smooth the differences.

The proposal seeks to put "American families and small business owners in control of their own health care," the official said. It stems from discussions that have taken place with the House and the Senate, the official said.

Obama will propose changes that include eliminating the so-called "Nebraska deal," a provision worked in by Sen. Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat, that exempts that state from paying increased Medicaid expenses, the official said.

The president also plans to include a series of measures proposed by Republicans to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse; and the introduction of a new provision to prevent arbitrary insurance rate hikes like a recent 39 percent increase in California.

A televised bipartisan discussion on health care reform is scheduled to take place on Thursday. Obama believes the discussion "will be the most productive if Democrats come to the table with a consolidated proposal" - what the president is releasing Monday, the official said.

Obama "hopes the Republicans will follow suit and come with their own unified proposal," the official said. "He'll be open to Republican ideas, and he hopes they'll be open to ours."

The legislation on insurance rates "would grant the federal health and human services secretary new authority to review, and to block, premium increases by private insurers, potentially superseding state insurance regulators," the New York Times reported Sunday night, citing administration officials.

"The bill would create a new Health Insurance Rate Authority, made up of health industry experts that would issue an annual report setting the parameters for reasonable rate increases based on conditions in the market."

The officials said they believe such legislation would take effect immediately after a health care reform bill is signed into law.

- CNN's Ed Henry contributed to this report

Filed under: Health care • President Obama
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. t22

    Interesting. So the impact of this will be instead of raising rates 20% for one small segment of customers, they'll raise it for everyone by 10%.

    February 22, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. Bed time for Raygun

    Take the insurers down like pins at the bowling alley.They have been killing Americans for years with their death panels.

    February 22, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. tainopower

    what is this president doing? Is he having a jobs summit? No, he is having a healthcare summit. This president just doesn’t get it. We the people want’s jobs. How obama expecting for us to paid for it if we don’t have a job?

    February 22, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. SLM

    Obama wants complete government take over of any thing and every thing. Today starts the new credit card rules and once again those of us who pay our bills will be paying the consequences for those who don't. Enough is enough already, get the goverment out of my home and quit picking my pocket for my last dime.

    February 22, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. John D

    Just what we need to do, give these idiot democrats more power. I just want to know what his version of healthcare is going to cost. Cutting the DEFICIT by just 100 Billion over ten years is absolutely meaningless. We just spent 100 billion in interest from debt he has already created in the time it took me to write this post.

    Go blow smoke up somebody elses butt Mr. President!

    February 22, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. Free Thinker

    Hmmmmmm – smells like socialism to me.

    February 22, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  7. JLM

    The Insurance industry should be heavily regulated, because they are run by greedy crooks.

    February 22, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  8. Puddin

    I'm hearing people are becoming disappointed because Obama and other Democrats are caving in to the Republicans on the health care reform bill. McConnel and Boehner and others keep using the scare tactics and the talking points over and over saying "the American people do not want this health reform bill." None of these guys speak for all Americans..not me, for sure. Those I know wanted the public option, and when it went out the door, the handwriting was on the wall. I say the Democrats pass a good bill with the reconcilliation process. In time they will receive their "thank-yous." The Republicans also say the bill should be scrapped and started over. Like, "now do it our way" so they canserve their special interests......insurance companies.

    February 22, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  9. Bob in Pa

    Come on BO, another government ebtity to screw up the works.
    Adding more to this bill is not the solution. How about you throw everything else out, then you can create the rate authority.

    February 22, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  10. annie s

    Excellent. And take away their protection from anti trust laws. Better yet, give us a public option already so that the greedy for-profit insurers will finally have competition!

    February 22, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  11. beth

    AMEN to Obama....of course the conservatives will twist this into being a bad thing... that we would be able to stop insurance companies from outrageous rate hikes.

    February 22, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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