President Barack Obama's top health official on Thursday put the insurance industry on notice that the administration will not tolerate blaming premium hikes on the new health overhaul law.
"There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a letter to the insurance lobby.
"Simply stated, we will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections," Sebelius said. She warned that bad actors may be excluded from new health insurance markets that will open for business in 2014 under the law. They'd lose on a big pool of customers, as many as 30 million people nationwide.
Here's what's getting her goat.
This isn't the first time a prominent Democrat resorted to leveling threats after being confronted with unpleasant economic realities, and it won't be the last. The HHS Secretary has extraordinary discretionary power under Obamacare, and you'd better believe this administration will encourage her to use it.