By the Way, Obamacare is Still Raising Costs and Breaking Promises

Guy Benson
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Posted: Aug 27, 2015 10:59 AM
By the Way, Obamacare is Still Raising Costs and Breaking Promises

Sure, that's a 'dog bites man' headline, for reasons I've expanded on at greater length herehere, and here.  Massive "Affordable" Care Act rate increases are on the way across the country in 2016, as the insurance industry adjusts to the law's coverage requirements and the older-and-sicker-than-expected individual market risk pools.  There are many reasons why Obamacare has remained consistently and enduringly unpopular for years, including its raft of broken central promises.  A few updates from across the country:

(1) Premium spikes in Florida:

Health insurance premiums for Floridians who buy their own plans will rise 9.5 percent on average for 2016, though some consumers will pay less for their coverage than they did this year, state insurance regulators reported Wednesday. A total of 19 health insurance companies submitted rate filings to Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation...Florida regulators denied proposed rate increases for more than half of the issuers in the state for 2016. The majority of health plans received approval for single-digit increases, and four decreased their rates from 2015. Average rate changes for 2016 plans sold on the ACA exchange will range from a decrease of nearly 10 percent for some plans, and an increase of as much as 16 percent for others...Ben Wakana, HHS press secretary, issued a written statement noting that this year Florida regulators “significantly reduced” rates for consumers. “We are pleased that Florida was able to reduce rates,” Wakana said. The largest rate increase approved by Florida regulators for plans sold on the ACA exchange went to UnitedHealthcare of Florida, which had requested an average increase of 18.2 percent. The average monthly premium per person for that UnitedHealthcare plan will rise from $398 in 2015 to about $463 in 2016.

Even after regulators rejected insurers' requested rate increases derived from actuarial data, the artificially-held-down spikes are still nearly 10 percent, on average.  Because these large increases are less than what was requested, HHS is referring to them as "reduced rates."  Orwellian, and unlikely to fool anyone actually paying their bills.  Higher rateshigher out-of-pocket costs, and access shock are national trends under Obamacare.

(2) Failure in Nevada, and elsewhere:

The Nevada Health Co-Op created as part of the Affordable Care Act is ending operations at the end of the year due to continued high costs. The nonprofit’s board of directors announced Wednesday that they’d made the “painful” decision to phase out the program rather than continue investing in an uncertain market. Participants will be covered through the end of 2015, but are asked to choose other insurance providers when an open enrollment period beings in November...Co-ops around the country are struggling. Regulators shut down one covering Iowa and Nebraska, and one in Louisiana announced plans to shut down.

(3) The national healthcare cost curve is still pointed in the wrong direction:

After years of slower growth, Medicare and Medicaid are growing more rapidly again. Following news earlier this year that national health spending growth had started to quicken once again, the CBO estimates that major health programs—mostly Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare—will cost 13 percent more this year than last, adding up to about a $106 billion difference. The biggest contributor to the boom in federal health care spending? Medicaid, which, will cost $49 billion more this year, a year-over-year increase of about 16 percent, thanks largely to the expansion of Medicaid coverage under Obamacare.

(4) Higher Obamacare taxes ensnaring more Americans, leading to scaled back coverage and reduced access:

Obamacare’s “Cadillac tax” will hit one in four employers that offer health care benefits, a leading industry analyst says in a report being released Tuesday, socking companies with a massive levy that Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill say is unfair to those who have negotiated high-quality plans as part of their jobs. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 26 percent of companies will be affected by the tax when it takes effect in 2018 and 42 percent of employers will be paying the levy a decade later, signaling just how quickly health care costs are expected to rise — and how valuable the Cadillac plans are...Kaiser said some employers probably will cut back on the scope of their plans to duck the tax, resulting in coverage with higher deductibles or networks with fewer doctors.For the most part, these changes will result in employees paying for a greater share of their health care out-of-pocket,” the study authors wrote.

Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber bragged that the president's rhetoric about the so-called 'Cadillac tax' was a ruse, deliberately "mislabeled" to convince the public that it would only impact a small number of plans.  In fact, Gruber argued, the tax would expand over time to cover all employer-based plans, with the goal of destroying the status quo, with which tens of millions of Americans are satisfied.  "Keep your plan," etc.  I might as well leave you with this:



UPDATE - Oh by the way:


"Affordable."