“Every generation needs a new revolution.”
-Thomas Jefferson

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
-Martin Luther King Jr.

Staceyann Chin, National Equality March 10/10/09 photo: Ed Needham

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why is Anthem Blue Cross raising premiums by 39%? (Because they can)

Public Option Anyone?

It seems Anthem Blue Cross will go ahead with previously announced rate hikes of 39% on existing and new health insurance premiums. This is despite best efforts by Dems like Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME) [both from states with a sizable Anthem presence] and a tongue lashing on Capitol Hill the past couple days. The increases will start hitting families soon.

Robert Gibbs, the unfortunate White House Spokesman, said at a briefing on Monday that the President is eager to pass his health care plan. The public option will not be part of it, he followed, because the vote count looked overwhelming.

Makes you wonder if we are talking about the same Congress. He surely can't be referring to the same Congress with a House strongly backing a public option and a Senate that now has over twenty Senators signed on to a letter urging Harry Reid and the President to help them fight for it. At a time when the public option is the most popular part of any proposed plan, enjoying support among more than 60% of voters according to a new poll by non-partisan Research 2000? That's nearly twice the amount of support the President's entire plan received, by the way.

Could the difficulty in whipping up votes be a result of zero leadership on the issue from the White House? Did Obama, as speculated by The Huffington Post's Miles Mogulescu, fashion a deal with the health care industry last summer to leave it off the table as he did with big pharma by agreeing to keep Medicare from negotiating prescription drug prices or buy them from Canada?

Makes you wonder what team he is playing for. Remember Candidate Obama? President Obama doesn't.

Read Anthem CEO's PR attempt at explanation in The LA Times here.
Get a quick take here from Eugene Robinson (a favorite of ours) of The Washington Post.
Check out the newest poll on the Obama Plan and the Public Option here. (and sign the petition)
Read the Huffington Post's story on Obama's back room deal with the health care lobby here.

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