If runaway costs are the problem, surely price controls are the answer! Barack Obama, channeling his inner Dick Nixon, is set to propose Federal oversight of health insurance price hikes.
Since in the short run there are generally more consumers who can picture themselves winning from this than suppliers who will see themselves as losers, this tactic may help get Obama and the Democrats get past 2010. I'll bet that rent controls were popular when they were adopted in New York City as a temporary measure during World War II.
The long run effects won't be helpful for the insurance industry but they will be good for advancing the interests of the Democratic Party. A key Democratic goal of health reform (as was kicked around during the HillaryCare debacle) is to create a new middle-class entitlement. If this plays out like Social Security it will tie the middle class to their benefactors in the Democratic Party, which will forever position itself as the party of more generous benefits paid for by Someone Else.
A price control board can advance that same goal, since the Democrats can position themselves as the champions of lower prices for all. In the not-so-long run insurer won't be able to make a reasonable profit and will exit the industry, and coverage will be scarce (but cheap!). At that point the collapse of the private market will be offered as further evidence of the desirability of a full government take-over of health care, or at least, the adoption of a stalking-goat "public option".
Oh, well - if price controls are the answer, I guess we have to stop comparing Obama to Carter and start comparing him to Nixon.