The Health Premiums Puzzle

Leslie Margolin, president of Anthem Blue Cross, at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Feb. 23, 2010. She appeared to explain an attempt to boost premiums by up to 39 percent. (AP)

In March, President Obama signed health care reform into law. But skyrocketing insurance premiums are still a concern.

For now, regulation of rates is left chiefly to the states.

On Tuesday, Senate Democrats proposed a plan for the Federal government to step in when states can’t – or won’t – act to rein in hikes.

Is this the right move?

Or should we be focusing on medical costs and other factors that can drive up rates?

And is it the right time for another change, even before we start to roll out the last reform?

This Hour, On Point: premiums and the next step on health care.


Noam Levey, health policy reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

Gail Wilensky, economist and senior fellow at Project HOPE, an international health education foundation. She was an adviser to John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and a contributor to the McCain health care plan. She was administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration under President George H.W. Bush, directing the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Carmen Balber, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Washington, D.C., office. Her organization supports allowing the federal government to regulate health care premium rates in states, when “state laws are inadequate to limit unjustified rate increases.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Dec 1, 2015
Bethany Winder, a nurse who lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., plants a sign in support of Planned Parenthood just south of its clinic as police investigators gather evidence near the scene of Friday's shooting at the clinic Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in northwest Colorado Springs. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Women’s health, American politics and gun violence after the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting.

Dec 1, 2015
In this 2010 file photo, Dr. Tom and Ann Earley work a Salvation Army kettle with their dog, Bocce, in an Atlanta, GA-area shopping center. (Flickr / Vicki DeLoach)

On #GivingTuesday, we’ll explore the trends in giving now from crowd sourcing to big charities and beyond.

Nov 30, 2015
Shoppers walks in front of a holiday display Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, in San Francisco.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

From Black Friday to Cyber Monday and beyond, we’ll add up the dollars and trends and bargains of the 2015 holiday shopping season.

Nov 30, 2015
United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres, center left, Minister of the Environment of Peru and COP20 President Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, center right, and French Foreign Affairs Minister and COP 21 President Laurent Fabius, center, pose for photographers during a press visit to the COP21, Paris Climate Conference, site, in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

World leaders converge in Paris for the big climate talks. We’ll look at what it will take to get a global climate agreement.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Fresh Ideas For Your Thanksgiving: Recipes
Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015

Did our Thanksgiving 2016 episode make you hungry? Good news — we’ve got recipes right here.

More »
Karl Rove Still Won’t Get Involved In The 2016 G.O.P. Primary
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

Karl Rove may say he’s not endorsing or getting involved in the 2016 G.O.P. presidential primary, but that won’t stop from offering advice on how to beat Republican front runner Donald Trump.

More »
Roger Cohen And Barry Posen On ISIS
Monday, Nov 23, 2015

A brief, but illustrative exchange between Barry Posen and Roger Cohen during our conversation on ISIS today.

More »