In his appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, President Obama and Stewart had a lengthy exchange about health reform.
Stewart argued that there was no mechanism in the legislation to check the rise in insurance premiums. Obama countered that North Carolina’s insurance commissioner negotiated a rebate for consumers.
This is from the transcript:
Stewart: — a deal was made with them — $80 billion over 10 years — okay, that seems like a quid pro quo that seemed reasonable, but there’s other things with the insurance companies. You know, I was talking with a woman in the audience before the show [audience cheers] but she brought up an interesting point: you know, 2014 is when these exchanges kick in and there will be some kind of price controls, but up until that point there’s really nothing in this bill that doesn’t allow these insurance companies to raise rates.
Obama: Not true! In fact, what we have done is we have empowered state insurance commissioners to review the rate hikes that are taking place in states — in some states, like North Carolina, they’ve already used it and rolled back premium increases by 25%.
Stewart: Doesn’t that only trip, though, on egregious raises, like 30%? Don’t they, you know, if you raise it 30%, so they raise it 29%?
Obama: If the point, Jon, is that overnight we did not transform the healthcare system, that point is true.
Stewart: [laughs] When you put it that way, it seems so petty!
Kudos to Wayne Goodwin and his crew. And let’s not forget that Blue Cross deserves some credit for agreeing to the rebate.