Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Putting a Premium on Health Insurance Premiums?

Democrats reacted sharply to a report issued by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, CPA which estimated that family health insurance premiums would rise by over $1,000 by 2013 and close to $4,000 by 2019 (single insurance up $600 and $1500 respectively) in comparing the "Baucus Bill" to coverage without major changes. NOTE: The CPA report estimates an increase of over 50% in health insurance premiums even if no major changes occur. Health Reform chairwoman Linda Douglass blasted the report as self-serving and suspicously timed and AARP offical John Rother called it worthless. Robert Zirklebach of a trade group for health insurors, however, defended the report. Zirklebach claims that reduced penalties for young people not buying insurance will shift costs to other purchasers of insurance.

I am assuming that Congress ultimately will pass some form of health legislation before the end of the year and probably fairly close to the Baucus bill. Time will tell whether the fears given by the health insurance lobby are valid or not. Of more importance to accountants: we have just seen Fox News be frozen from White House access by the Obama Administration for the rest of 2009. If action is taken against the CPA profession and particularly the "Big 4"(perhaps in the nature of proposed tighter tax registration legislation or tightened Sarbanes-Oxley provisions) in the wake of the PriceWaterhouseCoopers report, we would be seeing at minimum a real demonstration of hypersensitivity and perhaps the equivalent of a Nixonesque "enemies list" developing from the Obama administration.


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