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Obama Seeks Limit on Insurer Rate Hikes

Stocks in this article: WLP

WASHINGTON ( TheStreet) -- President Barack Obama is expected Monday to unveil a proposal that gives the U.S. government the power to limit rate increases by health insurers.

The White House is expected to post the proposal at 10 a.m. EST Monday on its Web site as part of Obama's larger plan to overhaul the insurance industry, the Associated Press reports. Obama's proposal comes ahead of a health care summit with leaders of Congress later this week.

Under the Obama proposal, the Health and Human Services Department, in conjunction with states, will have the power to deny certain premium increases, roll them back, or demand that consumer get rebates, the AP reports, citing a White House official.

Obama's arguments for health care reform were bolstered earlier this month when Anthem Blue Cross in California, a unit of Wellpoint (WLP), one of the most profitable health insurers, sought a rate increase of almost 40% and the California state insurance commissioner launched an investigation.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel in New York.

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