GOP wastes no time in going after Obama proposal for broader government regulation of health insurance

Republicans pounced on the news Sunday night that President Obama wants to give the federal government new powers to regulate health insurance rates.

“Wow, this is the biggest news of the week: even the White House is now admitting that their massive health spending bill won’t do anything about rising premiums,” said a Republican Senate leadership aide.

Obama on Monday will include in a health care proposal new authority for the secretary of health and human services to veto insurance rate hikes that it deems excessive, and will create a federal panel that would set guidelines for health insurers to follow in determining their rates. The details were first reported by the New York Times and confirmed by the Daily Caller.

“This seems to be an admission on the part of the Obama Administration that their massive government takeover of health care will, despite their promises, increase health care premiums for millions of Americans,” said Kevin Smith, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner, Ohio Republican.

But a White House official said the federal government’s regulatory powers were more of a stopgap measure designed to immediately address the problem of skyrocketing premiums.

“This goes into effect immediately, while the exchanges take a few years to get up and running. And we know the insurers aren’t wasting any time in jacking up rates,” the White House official told the Daily Caller Sunday night.

However, the administration official said the government’s regulatory powers would not be diminished or eliminated once the government-run insurance exchanges are fully operational.

The White House will post a draft of the president’s health care proposal at 10 a.m. Monday. It is a precursor to Obama’s public meeting at the White House on Thursday with Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress.

Talk in Washington has increasingly focused on whether or not Democrats will try to ram the bill through the Senate using a process called “reconciliation.” But there has been little talk about the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, would still have to wrangle 218 votes out of her caucus.

  • carlos2010

    Obama wants to give the federal government new powers to regulate health insurance rates — proposals voters have rejected by every means at their disposal, from expressing (a still growing) opposition in polls, to scolding members of Congress in town hall meetings, to handing Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat to a Republican. It is now clear that the “summit” the president has called for February 25 is not intended to consider different approaches to health care financing, but rather to create an illusion of momentum that might just lull disoriented congressional Democrats into ramming the health care bill through the budget reconciliation process.

    The people of this country want Health Care reform not what President Obama and the Congress is pushing. Rasmussen Reports 61% of voters nationwide now say Congress should drop health care and focus on the economy. 58% of voters remain opposed to the plan Congress was considering. 78% say that if Congress health care reform passes, middle class taxes are likely to go up. At this time, voters are skeptical about the ability of the reform effort to help control the cost of health care. Just 23% believe passage of the reform legislation will lead to lower health care costs. Most voters (53%) say it will lead to higher costs, while 18% expect prices to remain about the same.

  • loudog

    Still waiting for the Republican plan to prevent medicare/medicaid from bankrupting the country. How about those pre-existing conditions that prevent coverage or excessive rate hikes by insurance companies? What’s the plan to get that under control? How do individuals without employee sponsored plans get coverage? Still waiting.

  • sandra3dee

    We’re trying to figure out who we will lay off when we get hit with the new payroll taxes to pay for this health care.

  • mikeyh0

    Politics at their most obvious. Obama says he wants to control private insurance rates 4 days before a supposed bi-partisan attempt at health care reform. Sure, Obama will give up his dreams of controlling everything if Congress will just let him control 50%. Such a deal! There is no compromise with a thief. Or an extortionist.

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  • ronco

    Mr. Ward – Why does your piece have that incredulous spin to it (re: the GOP’s criticism) which the MSM more often lean on? If the GOP can call this a government takeover – by any other name – and they cite an obvious section in the proposal which overrides what private insurers (and by extension the market) can get from the insured, how is it that you can’t appreciate that?

    Projection sometimes is a bad thing, but if you’ll drop the unwritten assumption that the GOP is simply doing a knee jerk take on this, you could easily project that this type of control is a government takeover, so that one or two Democrat/Big Stater administrations or “Crises” later, and we’ll have the fait accompli.

    Honestly, the Daily Caller has a good editorial POV which questions and prods things like the status quo, as they should, but your bias doesn’t belong in this piece.