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Feds to Insurers: Don’t Blame Health Reform for Rate Hikes

President Barack Obama’s top health official is vowing “zero tolerance” for insurers that blame premium increases on the new health overhaul law.

In a strong letter to the insurance lobby, HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius said she’s putting companies on notice that the administration “will not tolerate unjustified rate hikes” pinned on the health care law.

An HHS official says the letter is a pre-emptive move, after officials got word that several smaller carriers around the country are blaming the law for rate increases. The administration says the cost of new benefits required by the law is “minimal.”

Sebelius warned that bad actors may be excluded from new health insurance markets under the law. They’d lose out on a big pool of customers.

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