Obama Proposal To See Federal Government Block Health Insurance Rate Hikes

It's good that the rest of the economy is humming along, and the whole record unemployment thing is under control, cause we were wondering when the president would refocus his efforts on such mission critical things as having the government determine health insurance rates. Apparently the answer to the last question is tomorrow. According to the NYT, "Obama will propose on Monday giving the federal government new power to block excessive rate increases by health insurance companies, as he rolls out comprehensive legislation to revamp the nation’s health care system, White House officials said."

This whole thing is just getting way out of hand:

By focusing on the effort to tighten regulation of insurance costs, a new element not included in either the House or Senate bills, Mr. Obama is seizing on outrage over recent premium increases of up to 39 percent announced by Anthem Blue Cross of California and moving to portray the Democrats’ health overhaul as a way to protect Americans from predatory insurers.

And yes, just when you thought government couldn't get any more socialist, er, pardon, bigger, here's Johnny:

The president’s bill would grant the federal health and human services secretary new authority to review, and to block, premium increases by private insurers, potentially superseding state insurance regulators. The bill would create a new Health Insurance Rate Authority, comprised of health industry experts that would issue an annual report setting the parameters for reasonable rate increases based on conditions in the market.

Officials said they envisioned the provision taking effect immediately after the health care bill is signed into law.

The legislation would call on the secretary of health and human services to work with state regulators to develop an annual review of rate increases, and if increases are deemed “unjustified” the secretary or the state could block the increase, order the insurer to change it, or even issue a rebate to beneficiaries.

In this vein, how long before we get a "Credit Card Rate Authority", a "Bid Offer Spread Arbitrage Authority" and, just jokingly (not really), a "Thank God There Is A PPT So Pay The Government A Tenth Of Your AUM Authority"? Yes, we are serious. And we are even more confused how [Lenin|Stalin|Khrushchev|Brezhnev|Chernenko] did not think of all these things when they had the chance... Oh wait, they did.