The good news for small businesses and consumers is only temporary. Governor Deval Patrick's political grandstanding will eventually drive health insurers out of the Massachusetts market which will cause premiums to go up even faster.
Robert Weisman writing in the Boston Globe:
The ruling, stemming from emergency regulations the governor put in place in February, marks the first time state government in Massachusetts has used its authority to deny health premium increases. It is expected to have wide ramifications in the health care industry and in the gubernatorial campaign, where Republican challenger Charles Baker already has criticized rate caps.
Insurance Commissioner Joseph G. Murphy disapproved most of the base rates proposed by state health plans, finding that they included excessive increases and were "unreasonable relative to the benefits provided," according to a statement issued by the division.
The rates were to have taken effect today for many health insurance policies in the so-called small group market, a merged market that includes small businesses and individuals.
[...]Three of the four largest nonprofit health insurance carriers posted operating losses in 2009 due to job cuts at businesses that buy health insurance, increased use of medical services by employees fearful of losing benefits, and the slumping value of investments.
"We're going to review all the options that are available to us," Pellegrini said. "At the end of the day, if we're not going to be allowed to have our prices cover our costs, that will be a problem for the whole industry."
Citing the gubernatorial campaign, in which Patrick is running against Baker, a former insurance executive, Pellegrini said, "Unfortunatly, there's a lot of politics going on. The division had the power to review rates for years and they've never done anything until now. It smells fishy."
The federal government will also have the ability to deny "excessive" rate increases by insurers under Obamacare. This will be a mechanism by which the government deliberately destroys the private insurance industry in order to force a single payer system down our throats.