In a nutshell: The judge passed on getting involved, stating that the issue needs to go through the proper channels within the Division of Insurance. As if the appeals process will yield a different result from the Patrick-backed commissioner.
Judge Stephen E. Neel’s decision against granting the preliminary injunction sought by insurance companies means the state’s rejection of 235 proposed rate increases stands for now. The higher rates would have taken effect April 1.
The judge rejected the companies’ contention that the insurance market would be thrust into chaos if they could not quickly institute the higher rates. But the ruling is not the final chapter in the battle. Insurers are pursuing appeals within the Division of Insurance. If their appeals are turned down, the court would take up the case later this spring.
During the appeals process, last year’s base rates for what is known as the small-group market will remain in effect. Neel also denied the insurers’ request for an expedited trial.
The case has focused a national spotlight on the tug of war between regulators and a health care system over mounting costs for consumers and businesses.
Governor Deval Patrick, who imposed emergency regulations that set the stage for regulators to reject premium increases, hailed Neel’s decision as a victory for small businesses and families that have been burdened by years of rising health care expenses.
The “big victory” for Deval is a huge defeat for the NON PROFIT insurers and the individuals and small businesses who will be shut out as the insurers refuse to sell new policies until the dispute is “settled.”
It’s like having an ObamaCare crystal ball.
Cartoon by Lisa Benson via Townhall