“If you like your plan, you’ll be able to keep it” (you’ll just have to pay more for it)
President Obama has been bemoaning rising health insurance premiums ever since he started pushing ObamaCare. Yet newly released studies show that ObamaCare will likely drive up premiums—sometimes as high as double or triple their present rate. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the insurance company Wellpoint, Inc. just published detailed studies of the potential impact of ObamaCare on insurance premiums in the fourteen states where it offers plans. Their conclusion? Premiums for most customers, especially the young and healthy, would skyrocket:
In fact what distinguishes the Wellpoint study is its detailed rigor. Take Ohio, where a young, healthy 25-year-old living in Columbus can purchase insurance from WellPoint today for about $52 per month in the individual market. WellPoint’s actuaries calculate the bill will rise to $79 because Democrats are going to require it to issue policies to anyone who applies, even if they’ve waited until they’re sick to buy insurance. Then they’ll also require the company to charge everyone nearly the same rate, bringing the premium to $134. Add in an extra $17, since Democrats will require higher benefit levels, and a share of the new health industry taxes ($6), and monthly premiums have risen to $157, a 199% boost.
Meanwhile, a 40-year-old husband and wife with two kids would see their premiums jump by 122%—to $737 from $332—while a small business with eight employees in Franklin County would see premiums climb by 86%. It’s true that the family or the individual might qualify for subsidies if their incomes are low enough, but the business wouldn’t qualify under the Senate Finance bill WellPoint examined. And even if there are subsidies, the new costs the bill creates don’t vaporize. They’re merely transferred to taxpayers nationwide—or financed with deficits, which will be financed eventually with higher taxes.
In my last post I talked about how insurance mandates benefit select groups while driving the cost of health insurance premiums out of reach of many others. Here it is in real time. Does ObamaCare repeal the existing programs, laws and mandates that are driving up the cost of health care and health insurance? No. It imposes new taxes, mandates and regulations that will exacerbate the very problems it’s trying to solve. It’s a downward spiral of doom with a full government takeover of the health care system at the bottom, where the government has its hands in every aspect of medicine and no one is free.
That’s what makes ObamaCare so dangerous. There’s been a lot of talk about a “public option” and the damage that would cause to the private market. But whether or not that mechanism is in the final bill, whatever passes is going to drastically expand the role of government in our health care system. The Wellpoint studies document one negative consequence of that expansion. It surely won’t be the only one.