Free Markets, Free People

The thug culture

I’m sorry but the more I watch this White House operate, the more I realize that most of the conciliatory rhetoric about bringing “new politics” to Washington was just so much hot air. They’ve certainly brought a different brand of politics to the place, but “new” isn’t how I’d characterize them.

This bunch acts like thugs engaged in intimidation and shakedowns. The latest example has to do with health insurance companies – which, if anyone is paying attention, are being set up to fail. So now, in anticipation of the the health care bill’s impact and a desire to keep what should happen from happening, the thugs go to work:

President Obama, whose vilification of insurers helped push a landmark health care overhaul through Congress, plans to sternly warn industry executives at a White House meeting on Tuesday against imposing hefty rate increases in anticipation of tightening regulation under the new law, administration officials said Monday.

The White House is concerned that health insurers will blame the new law for increases in premiums that are intended to maximize profits rather than covering claims. The administration is also closely watching investigations by a number of states into the actuarial soundness of double-digit rate increases.

Of course, the insurance companies no longer can deny pre-existing condition and must take anyone who applies. That means a much different risk pool than previously – one which will be much more costly than their present pool of insured.

With the usual attitude of anticipating the worst, the White House plans to warn them off of raising prices. That, of course, shouldn’t be any of the administration’s business, but with the new law, they made it their business. And remember – the charter, the base premise of the law is “cost containment”. The hidden agenda, however, is single-payer.

So where, you ask, does the thugishness come in? Well that would be David Axelrod’s department. Here’s his offer they can’t refuse:

“Our message to them is to work with this law, not against it; don’t try and take advantage of it or we will work with state authorities and gather the authority we have to stop rate gouging,” David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, said in an interview. “Our concern is that they not try and, under the cover of the act, get in under the wire here on rate increases.”

Note the imperial “we”. Also note that they will decide what constitutes “rate gouging”. If this isn’t a “with us or against us” statement, I’m not sure what you’d call it.

The law does not grant the federal government new authority to regulate health care premiums, which remains the province of state insurance departments. But with important provisions taking effect this summer and fall, the Obama administration has repeatedly reminded insurers — and the public — that it will expose industry pricing to what the health secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, has called a “bright spotlight.”

The general war against business continues.



8 Responses to The thug culture

  • This bunch acts like thugs engaged in intimidation and shakedowns.

    It isn’t an act.
    This is who they are organically, at their deepest, darkest little hearts.  The rule of law means NOTHING to these slugs.
    I think it’s step-up time…

  • They could have put pricing pressure on insurers by allowing them to sell insurance across state lines.
    That would not fix the fundamental problem with health care or health insurance, though.

  • The problem is that too many people LIKE “thug politics” so long as the target is sufficiently disliked.  Note this line from the NYT article cited:

    President Obama, whose vilification of insurers helped push a landmark health care overhaul through Congress… [emphasis mine – dj505]

    This is the President of the United States “villifying” a lawful industry.  Why is ANYBODY OK with that?  It certainly gives new meaning to the phrase “bully pulpit”, doesn’t it?

    THEY CAME FIRST for the banks,
    and I didn’t speak up because I thought bank charge too much interest.

    THEN THEY CAME for the auto industry,
    and I didn’t speak up because I thought auto execs make too much money for selling a crappy product.

    THEN THEY CAME for the oil industry,
    and I didn’t speak up because of the Gulf oil spill.

    THEN THEY CAME for me
    and by that time no one was left to speak up.*


    (*) With respects to Pastor Martin Niemoeller

    • Never forget – “They” is “Us”.   It’s hard to have a “They” unless some of “Us” agree to become “they”.

  • Comrade, is that party disloyalty I sense?
    Keep your powder dry…

  • The thugs run into a judge –
    “Much to the government’s discomfort and this Court’s uneasiness, the summary also states that ‘the recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering.’ As the plaintiffs, and the experts themselves, pointedly observe, this statement was misleading,” Judge Feldman said in his 22-page ruling.
    White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the administration will appeal the decision, and said Mr. Obama believes the government must figure out what went wrong with the Deepwater Horizon rig before deepwater drilling goes forward. Still, the ruling is another setback as Mr. Obama seeks to show he’s in control of the 2-month-old spill.”