Democrats are using the decision of WellPoint to raise rates for some customers by as much as 39 percent – despite a $4.75 billion profit – to rally supporters.
Has a cost hike by a health insurer in California given new life to the Democratic healthcare-reform legislation in Washington?
“We don’t have to let greedy health-insurance executives drag down our future,” Senator Reid said.
President Obama made a similar point, using less-harsh language, at his Tuesday press conference. Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, said Thursday that “it remains difficult to understand” how such premium increases could be justified when WellPoint reported a $4.75 billion profit in the last quarter of 2009.
Earlier this week, Secretary Sebelius ordered a federal probe of the increase. A subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce scheduled a hearing on the rate hike for Feb. 24, and it asked WellPoint’s chief executive officer, Angela Braly, to appear.