With the old healthcare reform ideas no long having any reasonable hope of passing in Congress, Barack Obama is adopting plan B: price controls.
According to the NYT, the President will propose today a scheme whereby the Federal government has the right to block any health insurance premium hikes it deems “excessive.”
How high a hike is excessive? It’s not clear. We suspect it’s like pornography in that you know it when you see it. As noted in the article, recent premium hikes in California announced by Anthem Blue Cross of 39%, would probably be deemed excessive.
A new seven-member Health Insurance Rate Authority would be tasked with making the decision.
Meanwhile, Obama will publicly debate Republicans on healthcare on Thursday, and the debate will be televised meaning lots of canned one-liners and little actual debate.
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