A Democratic congressman from New York, Anthony Weiner, is calling on the New York state insurance superintendent to limit health insurance premiums, which Mr. Weiner says the insurance companies otherwise plan to increase by an average 16% in 2011 over 2010.
"When the rate of inflation is barely 1.5% and personal incomes are flat, it is a clear case of overcharging when rate increases are at the level we have seen," Mr. Weiner said in a press release.
The release said that "As part of the health care reform legislation passed by congress, $1 million was sent to New York State to facilitate oversight of the health insurance industry."
In a letter to the state insurance commissioner, Mr. Weiner said, "I am calling upon you to use your authority to freeze or limit the increases you approve this year." He said that while some companies have attempted to use the ObamaCare law as an explanation for their increases, "in fact...much of the new law has yet to go into effect."
This is exactly how critics predicted that ObamaCare would work. First the government mandates that everyone buys health insurance and requires the insurance companies to include all sorts of benefits. Then the insurance companies, realizing that they have a captive audience required to buy their product, raise rates, with the additional reason that they are now required to include all sorts of benefits that make the coverage more expensive. Then the government responds to the higher prices by imposing price controls.
It happened this way in Massachusetts with their state universal coverage "RomneyCare" law as well.