Following on the heels of health insurer Blue Shield’s announcement that it was canceling a proposed rate hike, Anthem Blue Cross said Monday that it was giving its customers a break. From The Sacramento Bee:

Anthem Blue Cross will lower rate increases planned for this summer by nearly a percentage point and will hold off on increases to co-payments and other benefits until January 2012 in an agreement with the state’s Department of Insurance. “This is good news for 600,000 policyholders,” state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said at a Monday news conference in Sacramento, adding that consumers “can continue to afford coverage instead of having to give it up.”

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Anthem Blue Cross’ announcement may be good news for the time being, but the fact remains that profit-driven health insurance is too expensive, too unreliable, and should go the way of the dodo. Both Anthem and Blue Shield say they are only delaying the inevitable — waiting until next year to sock it to consumers once again until they are sucked dry. Californians must say enough is enough, remove the insurance industry from health care, and establish a public, self-insurance plan available to all.