Health Inc.

Sebelius Invites Insurance CEOs For A Chat About Rates

There's another Washington health summit in the works that we imagine none of the invitees really wants to attend.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has asked the CEOs of some of the country's biggest insurers to stop by next week for a talk about rates.

Her invite doesn't exactly promise a festive atmosphere:

I hope this meeting will provide an opportunity to discuss how health insurance reform can bring down health care costs and fix our broken health insurance system.

The Sebelius letter went to CEOs of Aetna, Cigna HealthCare, UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint Health Care Service Corporation, the parent company for a bunch of Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, also got tapped. Sebelius also asked some state insurance regulators to come along. Dow Jones

Health insurers are being summoned to Washington pretty regularly these days. In congressional testimony Wednesday, WellPoint CEO Angela Braly defended controversial rate hikes in California, saying they aren't her company's fault:

The increases we're seeing in California are due to factors that we've been sounding the alarm about for years: the rise in health care costs and healthy people opting out of the system when other issues arise, such as the tough economic times were experiencing today.

For more on the hearing, listen to this report from NPR's David Welna.

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