Law of the Land

Some call it Neo-Feudalism . . .

This tool (on The Washington Post) looks at what it could mean for your health coverage and taxes based on your income, family size and current insurance status.


  1. Brody: Think the tide's with us?
    Hooper: Keep kicking.
    Brody: I used to hate the water...
    Hooper: I can't imagine why.
    ~~~Jaws (1975)

  2. This tells me I won't pay a cent more and will continue to receive what I'm receiving now. Not so scary.

    Think of it! If this actually works it will put the established doctrines of the far right, as put forth by Saint Ronald Reagan, on their head. For if it actually works it will demonstrate government can actually do something right. That government can benefit the people. That government may not actually "be the problem" standing in the way of freedom and progress.

    Which is one reason why they so hysterically oppose this legislation. They simply can not stand the thought of any federal government success. And that is why they are at war with the administration. An administration, even if in an extremely tepid manner, reflecting back on American political realities, which believes in government solutions of society's major problems. Those which the private sector can not offer themselves.

  3. As a jineral rule I keep my opinions about this stuff to myself (seeing as my beliefs are very non-traditional)... however a huge f*cking rant has been abrewing...

    From what I understand, this will screw me royally based on my non-traditional belief system. I do not practice Western medicine- no MD's (ever!), no prescriptions, no hospitals, no tests. When I have a problem, I go to an ND (Doctor of Naturopathy), I buy herbals or Homeopathics. I don't have health insurance as I've no need for it. I won't go to a doctor/hospital so I've no need for it!

    Understand, that I FULLY believe if a person wants/needs to go to a doctor they should damn well be able to! But it seems as if people like me, who practice alternative/preventative health care, will be required to pay our hard earned cash for MEDICAL Insurance or be fined?!!?

    Wait wait wait... Land of the free?

  4. Well, I see Jin, the best of drinking companions, is a bit touchy and hot under the collar at the moment. So proposing Medicare for all, with an accompanying tax hike, may only irritate her. And I hope my words don't unleash another explosion. Though she brings up an interesting situation. Do people have the right to entirely opt out?

    As for "Neo Feudalism" I would argue anyone who works nine to five in a hierarchical situation is already there. A serf, or maybe an out and out slave.

    So here we are, sitting at the bar, each for his own reasons. Jin perhaps because she doesn't want to be bossed around by society as a whole. Some of us because we're sick of being nine to five wage slaves. Others, who were fortunate enough to be born rich, don't have to worry about these problems. They just get drunk because they want to get drunk. But there always good excuses, justifiable excuses, for putting one on.

  5. None dare call it RomneyCare:

    "The conservative DNA of ObamaCare is hardly a secret. We do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994."

  6. Ahhh Quinty, your words will certainly not lead to another explosion & I apologize if my one-and-only led to offending any of our regular patrons.

    I have always had the ability to view any argument from all sides. I understand & sympathize. Again, I feel that anyone who needs/wants to go to a doctor should be able to without going severely into debt. I truly agree & understand. (Both my parents had to file bankruptcy after medical issues hit them even though my father had insurance... then again, he was only able to keep up with his insurance by putting monthly payments on credit cards for years.)

    My boyfriend & I have been arguing... rather, having a heated debate *ahem* over this all day. He is all for it since he's not a believer in my methods which is perfectly fine. He did bring up a valid point with:
    "Jin, you realize if people like you were given the choice to opt out they would... yet then when something happens they'd run to the doctor & people like me would end up paying for it because they opted out."

    Then again, I am jin... and as he understands my severe (slightly OCD) bullheadedness, he finished with:
    "There are very few others, if any, like you, that would rather lay dying in a pool of blood than go to a hospital. And yes, I know you would." as he shakes his head & starts to walk away.

    Needing to get the last word (as always, yes I admit *blush*) I called after him with, "What exactly, will they do with the Christian Scientists? Will they be allowed to opt out on Religious grounds?"

  7. Something like conscientious objectors, right?

    Though there is a difference between war and healthcare.

    Well, your boyfriend's argument, Jin, may be the most basic one for forcing widespread participation in any government program.

    When I was a working stiff I belonged to the SEIU, Local 790: the Librarians Guild. And gladly paid my dues. There were others, however, who worked in the library and didn't belong. They never joined or paid a rather large initiation fee to belong. But dues were taken out of their paychecks on the basis that they too would benefit from any gains the union obtained for the library's workers: in the way of increased benefits and higher salaries. The idea being that even though they didn't belong to the union they would benefit.

    To me, Jin, that's a sensible argument. And I think it can also be applied to American society as a whole. A hermit living in a cave who has a major healthcare crisis needs Medivac and emergency room services even if he doesn't believe in participating or paying taxes. Even if he is a dropout. I'm persuaded by that argument. We may not agree with the purposes of the taxes (needless imperial wars in third world countries, for example) but there is a certain basic sense of the national commons which obliges us all to chip in. We have "representation" in the Congress through which we can gripe about the direction our society is taking. And we can clamor for a basic acknowledgment of our needs: in civil rights, for example. Unfortunately, though, and you may or may not agree, the wisest course is not always taken.

    Because I admit to be charmed by your demeanor here at the bar I deeply sympathize with your sense of individuality. And wish you the best in your struggle not to be burdened. Though, as you can see, I don't really agree. But then, on the other hand, I'm not really certain about all of this myself. And may very well be wrong.

    Wait until later, after I've had several more drinks. Then I can answer any question and resolutely lay down the final word on any subject. But that's still a while off.

  8. Yes, tarring Obama with Romneycare may have its element of truth. And what we are getting may hardly be ideal. But for more than a year we have watched up front and close up the politics involved in simply getting to where we are. And, like it or not, they reflect us, who we as a nation are. I think this legislation, or at least hope, is a good start.

    Look at other countries and their struggles for healthcare. Some came out right at the start, or at least at the end of the Second World War. When Marxism still had a widespread popular grip in much of Europe. (And here in the US the right has shamelessly belittled foreign systems which the locals abroad would never get rid of. Or, certainly, trade for what we have. Which has been a system based mostly on unbridled greed, putting profit first above healthcare.) And Britain opted for socialized medicine. Fine and good. Like education healthcare is a basic right. But in other countries the struggle has been long and hard. In Canada where reform began in the provinces, for example. And in some countries there are highly regulated private systems: Germany, Taiwan, Switzerland, I think. We are among the last. Considering the national character of our country we probably have as best as we can have at this time. I don’t think the American people are ready for anything smacking of “socialism.” Not that Socialism is bad.

    I don’t know if “Obamacare” will work or not. But I hope it does, and that it is a start. If it has enough attributes to make it reasonably popular then hopefully the American people will be willing to see it expanded and improved.

    Yes, single payer is the best way to go. The most reasonable, economic, and humane approach. But at this time it runs contrary to the national religion. At least that’s the way I see it now.

  9. Do you know what? Frequently I cannot look at the present without seeing the future. (What's that old saying... something about not seeing the forest through the trees?)

    At times like this, I have trouble articulating my thoughts because of the extreme chain reaction that builds jinside my head. (I don't play Chess, I fear that if I ever start playing I will be one of the types that obsess for days, months or even years about their next move because of my need to consider every single possibility/angle.)

    My concern lies with alternative (now occasionally referred to as complimentary) medicine. Honestly, I haven't read any of this new deal in depth & I am commenting off of an assumption (although I do firmly believe it is not an off-base assumption). So, humour me, let's take a trip jinside my head:

    "Healthcare for everyone, that sounds wonderful! I know so many people that could use it! Wait... what do you mean I have to pay for it too? Even if I refuse Medical Doctors and hospitals? Will it cover my Naturopath? My supplements? My homeopathic medicine? I bet it won't... they aren't generally accepted forms of healing even though they work wonders. Uh-oh... what will happen to those healing options if everyone has to use the Western medicine? Would they start to regulate it so much it will cease to be an option? No they couldn't... could they? Granted, some vitamin companies are only out to make a buck but what happens to the legit ones? If they start to dictate what we use on/in our bodies how far behind will food consumption be? Will the government dictate what we eat? Not a bad thing for many Americans but what about us Organic Vegetarians? I don't want to be forced to eat mass produced chemical concoctions!"

    ...and then, from there, I admit my mind goes to the absurd (currently absurd but who knows what the future will bring!!!)
    Soylent Green!


    Implants & barcodes Oh My!



    Maybe I should just order another glass of Cabernet & numb my very very very overactive jinmagination...

    ...after all, I'm much too young to be so concerned with conspiracies & destruction... aren't I?

    Too bad I believe in reincarnation & that I've been around a few too many times before... damn my old soul!

    Ack... don't hate me, this time around I seem to be a brilliant chef & I shall cook for the entire bar free of charge.

  10. JI'm just glad to see the jintelligence at work jin here. Rant on...although taxation with sorta representation isn't my favorite topic. I like paying taxes and feel quite comfortable in a nation that provides social enjoyments. I confess my annual property tax bothers me though...despite the fact I'm not really into ownership.

    I grew up getting taught a thing called the Social Contract. It's a pretty basic philosophy of folks living together somehow, without beating each other over the head with clubs. I always have taught it whenever I could get a teacher's desk in a social studies classroom. It appears the younger generations never hear of it anymore...since the Bush textbooks try not to mention it and certainly the Texas Board of Education has no use for it. It's not exactly a Mosaic idea.

    I'm surrounded by anti-tax people here in Southeast Ohio. Obviously from my standpoint, their ideas are absurd. The common man has set up the state for mutual protection and, if that's going all right, celebration. If you want to live here, you get to speak your mind and offer your view. If you're outvoted, you still get to do it. I've been in the general minority with my opinions all my life...and at first that bothered me. Now I like it. What I don't like is cheating with my vote. That's the kind of thing for which this peaceful farmer takes his gun and holster off the wall and heads into town.

  11. Jazzy,
    First off, I think your missus is damn lucky to have you because you're pretty awesome! ;-)

    I must admit, my rant isn't just about this. I'm very unhappy with government in any form right now because I've been getting screwed royally for over a year & I am so sick of fighting them.

    I am almost scared to admit this here for fear I'll get thrown right out of the bar (that's why you see me charming the bouncer on a regular basis ;-). I was never much of a voter. *jin flinches* Yes, I'm registered, but usually only went for the big ones like presidential or our local mayor (on 2 occasions when there was a slight possibility of getting him out of his position because someone actually had the balls to run against him). For the record, yes I did go out for the last one & I did vote for Obama. Then again, all one has to say to me to get me to go out & vote is that there is a candidate who is anti pro-choice. (I'm also a firm believer in not contributing to the Global Overpopulation of the Earth. I may be a chick, but nothing is ever coming out of my hoo-ha. TMI? Sorry, just woke up & already have a strong cuppa joe wiped out. Caffeine buzz rant! :-)

    Anyway... I almost forgot where I was going with this! Ahhh... the government (at this point in time I seem to consider them the bad guys). Particularly the IRS & the WI Dept of Rev. You know I had to file a Chap13 a little over a year & a half ago. I do take the blame for not having enough balls to fix the situation myjinself by kicking out the lazy non-working husband & cutting out my reckless mom/business partner but I can't go back & change anything... so I moved forward. I swore I would stick it[chap13] out for the full 5 years by myself & make it all work. I even knew I could manage, somehow... until, for goddess knows what reason, the IRS & WIdeptRev decided to get Jin. Even though I'm doing everything right & have been for the past 1.5 years I am getting fined left & right for personal, business & my parents (for whom I'm POA right now). jinMom had a leg amputated and is in a nursing home; jinDad is about to have his house repo'd for back property taxes (maybe that's why he was stealing money from my till? *sarcasm*). I'm working my arse off & simply not getting ahead. I'm at my accountant a few times per month with something new & she cannot believe everything I'm bringing to her. (BTW she's amazing. She knows the circumstances & has been charging me barely anything. She did get a $4,000 fee removed but it took about 9 months. Course, the fee wasn't legit to begin with. Ha.)
    Without having to fight the government I'd have made my 5 years. But it's just become too much. They win, the bastards. This year I started my 17th year in business & I still love what I do. I hope I have the opportunity to do it again one day... and who knows, maybe I'll be working for someone else & I'll actually have money to burn & won't care about wasting it on insurance that I will never utilize and still have the cash to use all of my alternative healing methods.

    Hey Jazzy, ever been to Florida? :-)

  12. I know, I know...and it pains me too, even to see jin so eloquently junplugged. Jespecially since JI've jenjoyed...o I really must cut this entire jin gift box pretty much hoarded all to myself. Chocolate wife kept searching but I kept moving it. And I think your town and that mayor should declare you a municipal treasure...and keep you there with monthly bribes!

    I was in Florida a couple times, once even at the height of orange blossom season. O the intoxication! But I don't like it, and I think it will wear thin for you too eventually. I like things natural, and Florida ain't it anymore---almost entirely. Sometimes the natural landscape peeks through, but mostly it's like Long Island in Hawaii or something.

    But my heart goes with you. Move around and live everywhere while you're young. Find roots where you end up and sink 'em deep. Beware of ever trying to return "home:" the waters will have covered everything over. And now Bartender, may we have a flaming punch bowl over here?

  13. Yes. We've agreed FL is temporary. 2 or 3 years maybe. By that time I should have the chill out of my bones (this winter seemed to be the coldest ever, of course, I had to keep the therm at 54, burrrr)!

    If all goes as planned (and I do feel very good about this) the BF will move swiftly into his old profession & I won't even have to get a job for a few months unless I choose to. I don't really know that I can relax completely though... the idea is so foreign to me! I'm a workaholic! But the stress level here has become much too high & I can't even see jinDad for all of 3 minutes without being jinfuriated by him... it's really time to go.

    I haven't found it yet. It's not here. I do wonder where it will end up being... and that will be the adventure!

  14. Went to Florida a couple of times. Visited friends. They had a house on this tiny island between Miami Beach and Miami itself. When I went there the neighbors stared hard at me. It appears burglars had been operating in the vicinity. The house itself lacked all windows. Odd. Very odd. All the Florida weather could come in. Considering they had nearly a hundred of my father's paintings stored in there this was cause for alarm. One painting, which they owned, and which hung on a wall, had begun to chip. The paint cupping up off the canvas. These were Hemingways mind you. People who should have known better. Years later I read that Ernest could sometimes become infuriated with his brother's lack of responsibility.

    I liked it there in Miami Beach. The first time I visited it was right after a hurricane. The beach was immaculate. The ocean delicious. Though the tropical heat took some getting used to. Yes, innocently walking about, not accustomed to this powerful sun, I nearly passed out. Went into the first juice place I came upon and had a bottle of water. the guy in there who sold me the water seemed to understand what was taking place, without saying anything.

    Some of the best white wine I ever had was the house wine in a fancy Spanish wine tasting bar in Miami. Visited Little Havana. A dismal place, with no color or life out on the streets. Downtown Miami seemed sterile and spiritless too. At least to me. Though the old Art Deco hotels on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach were wonderful. And there was this Jewish eatery where three or four Henny Youngmen types circulated around the tables with non stop diatribes against life in general. Hilarious. Loved having breakfast there. And the cheese cake they made was about as good as anywhere. Also found a wonderful Cuban restaurant, where they knew how to make arroz con pollo with plantines which was delicious.

    But no, Florida comes across as astro turf for the elderly and, though I qualify, it's not for me.

    Well said Jazzo... The "social contract" should be widely understood and still widely taught. The spirit of the Enlightenment's optimism should spread unclouded by rightwing obfuscation. We will beat back the night of Reagan's stingy view of this land. With all its accompanying hysteria, George Bush's promise not withstanding. Which they are fighting desperately now to preserve.

    Now, in honor of Jin, I will have a Jin and tonic. The drinking has just begun. There is much to look forward to.

  15. Shame on them for the condition of the paintings! Were you able to salvage them?

    Ahhh... the food & wine. Yes, I admit that I am more foodie than girl & FL restaurant options/quality charmed me most of all. I am such a particular eater & was concerned that my palette would not be satisfied there, but oh was I wrong! There were so many options & I can't wait to explore the many places I was unable to try on my last visit.

    We did not hit Miami. After we move I'd like to visit just to see what it's like. My BF despises Miami... well, he really doesn't like FL at all, but we both agree it's the perfect transitional point right now. Frankly I can't wait for the hot weather, I need to warm up- WI winters keep getting longer & colder & I really can't take it anymore.

    How's the Jin & Tonic? I haven't had it in years... I stick to red wine now with an occasional beer. Although when I was young & crazy I loved me some Bombay Sapphire- served right from the freezer with 2 sticks of olives! Haha... I was too picky back at 19 even, I was drinking that while my peers were happy to get Kingsbury.

  16. Miami is a must. As i said above I preferred Miami Beach, the historic district of Collins Avenue where they have the Art Deco hotels. There some good restaurants too in the area if you can find them.

    I didn't go down to the Keys or into the swamps which was probably unfortunate. Key West, when Hemingway found it, was a colorful out of the way place with genuine fishermen, bums, and numerous dedicated drunks. Hemingway's kind of people. But now it is overrun with tourists and probably artificial. I wonder if it is still worth visiting?

    Jin and tonic! Here's to Jin and tonic! Though I found this drink so delectable last night I can no longer remember what it is.

  17. I haven't been to Key West yet either but I do jintend to check it out. I shall have to post about all my adventures! Now I shall also make it a point to hit Collins Avenue... I love Art Deco.

  18. Hmm...I am with Anthem Blue Cross and although there have been no significant change in my health (I hardly ever go to the Doctor at all - I can't afford to) or age group, thus far my premium was increased by 22.8% just 10 months ago, and got increased again, effective next month, by another 14.2% (that's a compounded increase of 40.24% over less than a year). Oh, and Anthem simultaneously also increased my Co-payment/Coinsurance ceiling, and office visit copay.

    What about that for change you can believe?

    That projection tool from the Washington Post is a total and utter joke. I am unsure whether the poster who piously said that "this tells [him] [he] won't pay a cent more and will continue to receive what [he is] receiving now" is a sockpuppet earning his wages courtesy of the Obama administration, or a cynic rubbing salt in the wounds of citizens wise to the capture of the political process by the corporate interests, including the healthcare insurance industry, who have turned the only two political parties allowed to run for election in America, into one tweedledee/dum party. Perhaps he is a derp whose brain is so thoroughly washed with political partisanship he can’t see the tyrannical forests for the corporatised trees.

    Every other supposedly developed nation in the world has recognized the overwhelming need of its citizens for affordable health-care that is not a threat to their jobs or to the viability of their way of life: yet America has failed to realize this burning-fact of everyday reality.
    Medical Insurance in the US is clearly criminal-extortion; practiced by private corporations to maximize their own profits at the expense of the lives of their subscribers. In effect, since Richard Millhouse Nixon, we have created this racketeering organization of quasi-legal medical-insurance that stands between the health of our citizens and a silent-government that values the profits of privatization above anything else.

    If politicians were serious about fixing the permanent disaster of medical health in America then they would have outlawed the entire private medical-insurance industry ­seized their assets and closed them down a long time ago,  just as the Rico Act was intended for.

    Tell Cass Sunstein and your decadent Republic that the Tasmanian Separatist Alliance is on the move! The oppressor will be forced to bow down before our superior dogma! All dolphins shall be freed, and no more penguins will be forced to smoke cigarettes!

    1. Sounds like Bait and Switch to me, Perry. If so, this may just be the thing for you: Anthem Blue Cross "Bait and Switch" Class Action Lawsuit.

  19. Once again, I'm pondering what to do after I get out of this writing business.

    I've decided to form a health insurance company. In my own increasingly jaded view, it's the best racket going.

    Boiled down to its core, insurance is bookmaking. When you buy auto insurance, you're placing a bet you hope you don't win, because that probably means you got into an accident. The same goes for life insurance. It's a bet you will die.

    If an auto insurance company or a life insurance company fails to pay off, customers will flee and the company will go out of business. The same happens to a bookie who welshes on paying off sports bets.

    But health insurance is different in a number of ways.

    First, most of us are captive customers, signed up with the insurer their employer chooses and subsidizes. We can't easily or affordably jump to another company.

    Second, health insurers employ legions of desk-jockey goons. Their goal is to find loopholes on how not to pay off on health insurance claims, and to deny coverage for procedures your doctors say are necessary.

    One of the ways they keep you confused is via those confounding Explanation of Benefits forms, which are hard for anyone who doesn't have a master's degree in accounting to understand.

    These are separate from your medical bills, mind you (which are always formatted differently than EOBs). Actually, that's the point -- to create a big ball of confusion so consumers will just give up trying to get their insurance company to pay.

    If you call the company and beg them to pay, you'll get one of these desk jockeys. Most of them have been trained never to give you their last name even though they insist on knowing yours. This is a great strategy for avoiding accountability for whatever they tell you on the phone.

    Third, the health insurance companies also employ another kind of goon. More or less, they blackmail doctors and hospitals into giving steep discounts on services to patients.

    No discounts, no patients. So the docs and hospitals bend to the lower rate, at the same time your premiums are rising. It's like a bookie charging losing bettors more while pressuring winners to accept less. Except no bookie would try to bill this as "cost control."

    The effect of all this is that the bookies -- I mean profit-motivated health insurance companies -- are cutting themselves larger and larger slices of the health care spending pie.

    They take some of those profits and invest part of them in Washington lobbyists who curry favor with politicians, who in turn vote against your interests -- and in favor of the insurance companies.

    In that way, your hard-earned premiums help pass laws so they can screw you more down the road. Did you get that? You're paying for your own shellacking.

    Nowhere was this more evident than in Washington during the debate a while back over the Affordable Care Act. Thousands of lobbyists, a large proportion of them from health insurers, fought for months over that bill.

    The nation's 535 senators and representatives, many of whom get campaign contributions from the health insurance industry, naturally rolled.

    What emerged was better than nothing in certain ways. But despite what you have heard, it was not at all "government health care." Instead, the law requires everyone to buy private health insurance. You could call it a full-employment act for private health insurance companies.


  20. .../...

    "Government health care" exists, of course. It's called Medicare, and it's the most efficient health insurance out there. It's for old people the private insurance companies don't want.

    Putting everyone on Medicare, however, would once and for all end the profits that the health insurance companies are earning on the backs of people who get sick.

    That would put those companies and their lobbyists out of business. They will never let that happen. They will spend millions upon millions to convince you that would be un-American, and they will win that battle.

    This is why I'm thinking about getting into the business. I can't beat them, so I'm going to join them.

    I'll call my company ELEM Health Insurance. The acronym stands for "Everyone Loses Except Me."

    Join me. We'll make a mint.

    Otherwise, you can't win.


    Via The Roanoke Times, Metro columnist Dan Casey: Health insurance: What a way to make money

  21. All this political Kabuki is quite farcical overall (it would be funny, if the consequences were not so dire). If there was ever any doubt, it rapidly become quite clear at some point, that President Obama and the Democrats never had any real intention to push for anything even remotely progressive (let alone single payer) when it came to the so called Health Care reform. As it turned out, having a super majority proved to be an unexpected inconvenience for the Democrats because it completely exposed them and their true intentions to implement a Corporate Welfare bill on the backs of US Taxpayers, and pretend it was some sort of "Progressive Advance". It was never in the cards for the American people to have a Health Care System along the lines of other industrialized nations because the true religion of America is Business and every sacrifice and Legislative Prayer exists to exalt this small-minded worship system.

    The truth of the matter is that the For Profit Health Care Industry had trapped itself in a flawed business model. You can't provide year over year profits without raising premiums and cutting costs (sick people). The only way to preserve the business model was to expand the customer base and prevent people from dropping their lousy coverage through mandates backed by IRS penalties—locking in For Profit Health Care as the de facto American system.

    Since we really only have one political party in the US (the Corporate Party), it is obvious that the Democrats had been counting on not having 60 seats so they could, with apologies, pass the Health Industry Welfare Act while blaming the Republicans for their shortcoming in not pushing for a genuine progressive bill , and, at the same time, "oh what a tangled web we weave," the Republicans had to find a way to allow the bill to pass, while blaming the Democrats for its passage (Brown's win in Mass almost did complicate things a bit for them).

  22. Effective February 1, 2013, Anthem Blues Cross will be increasing my premium---AGAIN!---by another 21.1%

    I kid you not!

    This will be the 3rd such increase within less than 2 years (see earlier comment on this thread).

    Apparently, they do it because they can.

    And there is nothing anyone can do---or will do---about it.

    I quote:

    Anthem Blue Cross is proposing premium rates hikes that average 18% for more than 630,000 individual policyholders.
    According to the insurer's rate request, some policyholders could experience premium increases of as much as 25% in February 2013.

    California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones (D) said that the state will thoroughly review the proposed rate increases to assess whether they are warranted.

    He said, "It's fair to say policyholders are dismayed time and time again at these rate increases they are forced to pay."

    Although state officials can review the proposed premium hikes, they do not have the authority to reject them (Terhune, Los Angeles Times, 11/28/12).

    Right. Thank you for nothing Insurance Rate Commissioner.

    Who do you think you're fooling anyway?

    I mean, seriously...

    This quote is dated November 28, and I have already received my rate increase notification letter from Anthem Blue Cross, just today, November 30.

    21.1% !!!!!

    This is outrageous.

    Do you know what I think, Mr. Jones?

    I don't believe that Anthem Blue Cross or any insurance company in California, or anywhere in the USA, or on planet Pluto, gives a hoot about you Mr. Jones. And you know it. What game are you playing anyway?

    1. Same ol' same ol'

      Health Insurance companies in many states have a free hand to significantly raise rates with little or no oversight.

      Individual states, not the federal government, have long had the responsibility to regulate the individual and small group insurance markets. Those regulations have been watered down over the past two decades and in some cases eliminated. States have bowed to insurance industry pressure and enacted laws taking away their insurance departments’ power to vet proposed premium hikes in advance. Insurers in these states have a free hand to significantly raise rates with little or no oversight.

      States began deregulating the health insurance premiums in the 1990s

      Regulation of the health insurance industry varies from state to state. Laws in 31 states give insurance commissioners little or no authority to block unduly large premium hikes from going into effect in the individual and/or small group markets.

      This has not always been the case. Most states until the mid-1990s required their insurance departments to review proposed rate changes for individuals and small businesses to ensure that insurance companies did not profiteer by raising rates far beyond the actual cost of medical expenses. Then state lawmakers watered down the laws with almost no press coverage or public attention.

      Regulation in 23 states varies from weak to none
      Twenty-three states currently have no advance review for individual health policies, according to data supplied by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Fourteen of these 23 states have so-called “file and use” laws, which allow insurers to merely file notice of hikes before putting them into effect. These laws allow state regulators to act only months after increases have gone into effect, and then only if they learn that insurers’ profits from the hikes actually far exceeded what they had paid out in medical benefits.

      Regulators in 9 of the 23 states have no power to regulate individual premium hikes even after they have gone into effect.

      More here: The case for a Stronger Federal Role in Insurance Regulation (pdf)

    2. California has been fighting for the power to regulate health insurance premiums since the state presented Assembly Bill 52 in June 2011.

      With now a SUPERMAJORITY IN BOTH HOUSES OF THE SATE LEGISLATURE, it will be interesting to see what California Democrats will do (or not do) with their new found power.

      With great power comes great responsibility…and…er…—yeah, right, don't hold your breath.

    3. A California Insurance Companies Required to Justify Their Rates to the Public Initiative is on the November 4, 2014 ballot in California—as an initiated state rule.

      Its sponsors originally hoped to qualify their measure for the November 6, 2012 ballot. They submitted over 800,000 signatures on May 18, 2012. On June 28, it was reported that election officials would not have adequate time to scrutinize the signatures for validity in time for placement on the November 6, 2012 ballot.

      On August 23, 2012, it was announced that the measure had qualified for the 2014 ballot.

      [To be continued ... ]

  23. As expected, the insurance industry is opposing the measure. Michael Mattoch, an executive at auto insurer USAA, predicted that the insurance industry could spend in the vicinity of $100 million to defeat it.

    Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc., Health Net Inc. and Blue Shield of California have already started to fund the campaign against the measure.

    [To be continued ... ]