Just a month ago, I wrote a column in which I notionally looked back at what health care reform would have wrought by the year 2020. Looking back from 2020, I predicted:
Since 2010, insurance companies had been turned essentially into public utilities with the feds setting strict minimum benefits requirements. The health reform bill also limited the administrative costs of insurers, which has ended up basically guaranteeing their profits. With competition all but outlawed, the increasingly consolidated insurance industry has had very little incentive to pay for new treatment regimens outside those specified by government standard-setting agencies. Federal government health agencies have been reluctant to authorize newer treatments because they often lead to higher insurance premiums that then must be subsidized by higher taxes.
Yesterday, the New York Times reported:
Fearing that health insurance premiums may shoot up in the next few years, Senate Democrats laid a foundation on Tuesday for federal regulation of rates, four weeks after President Obama signed a law intended to rein in soaring health costs.
To start setting rates, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) has introduced a bill ...
....that would give the secretary of health and human services the power to review premiums and block “any rate increase found to be unreasonable.”
The Times article continues:
“Water and power are essential for life,” Mrs. Feinstein said. “So they are heavily regulated, and rate increases must be approved. Health insurance is also vital for life. It too should be strictly regulated so that people can afford this basic need.”
I told you so. Damn it!