Last week's news out of Maine and Massachusetts offers an unappetizing foretaste of the destructive rate battles that will plague the implementation of ObamaCare at the national level. These two progressive states have long championed the extended coverage formulas that figure front and center in ObamaCare. Quite predictably, both states are now feeling the financial crunch. Caught between a rock and a hard place, their insurance commissioners have decided to shoot the messenger by turning down requested rate increases sought by major health care insurers.
These rates were rejected as "excessive" in bad economic times because it was deemed inappropriate to allow these companies to earn any profit. Maine's insurance commissioner, Mila Kofman, followed the recommendation of Maine Attorney General Janet Mills to limit the large insurer Anthem by a premium increase of 10.9%, not the 18.5% that it had requested. The drama played out roughly the same way in Massachusetts, where Gov. Deval Patrick's insurance commission blocked 235 of the 274 requested increases, thereby forcing insurance carriers to renew coverage at today's losing rates until the matter is resolved in court.