March 24, 2010

Here's something I didn't know:

A couple of hours after President Obama signed the health-care bill, an elated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with a group of columnists and commentators, issuing a warning to insurance companies and offering a surprising view of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Asked if insurance companies might raise their rates on health coverage and blame the increases on the new health-care bill, Pelosi said that the insurance companies should be aware that they’re not “automatically included” in the new health exchanges the bill creates.

“Unless they do the right thing, they’re not going in,” she said. “They will be relinquishing the possibility of having taxpayer-subsidized consumers in the exchange,” she said.

Under the new law, the health exchanges Pelosi referred to will be created in 2014. By pulling customers together, they will give individuals and companies a better chance of bargaining when they buy health insurance. Because the exchanges are expected to serve millions of new customers, insurance companies will want to be part of them.

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