THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT ISN’T
Major health insurers seek eye popping rate increases for 2016 – 25 percent in Oregon, 30.4 percent in Maryland, 36.3 percent in Tennessee, 51.6 percent in New Mexico.
Insurance commissioners won’t approve all companies ask for. Rates will rise modestly in some states. But the odds are your premium will cost a lot more next year.
Premiums for non-group policies rose 24.4 percent more last year than they would have without Obamacare, says the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Premiums in this market rose more after two years of Obamacare than in the 8 years preceding, says eHealth Insurance, a private health exchange.
Despite subsidies for the industry of at least $16 billion, many insurers lose money. Far fewer signed up for Obamacare than they expected (and the administration claimed). Those who did sign up are older and sicker.
"Only about 40 percent of those eligible eventually signed up after two full open-enrollments," insurance expert Robert Laszewski told the Washington Examiner. "Carriers need more like 75 percent."
Subsidies for insurance companies mask the true cost, says Stephen Parente, director of the Medical Industry Leadership Institute. When they expire in 2017, premiums for the cheapest plan could rise nearly 100 percent for individuals, 50 percent for families, he says.
That’s on top of sky high deductibles. The average deductible for the cheapest Obamacare plan is about $5,180 for individuals, $10,500 for families – four times the IRS threshhold for a "high deductible" plan.
Patricia Wanderlich, who suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2011, skipped the brain scan she should have every year because her Obamacare policy has a $6,000 deductible.
"To spend thousands of dollars just making sure (my aneurysim) hasn’t grown?" Ms. Wanderlich told the New York Times. "I don’t have that money."
About 25 percent of Americans with private insurance can’t afford to pay a mid-range deductible ($1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for families), the Wall Street Journal said in March.
People with a policy they can’t afford to use are no better off than the uninsured. Which may be why – despite the threat of fines – so few without insurance signed up for Obamacare.
About 75 percent of those who did are subsidized. Subsidies could end for people in 36 states if later this month the Supreme Court rules for plaintiffs in King v. Burwell.
As written, the ACA permits subsidies only for insurance purchased on exchanges "established by the state," plaintiffs note.
That was a drafting error, politicians he quoted told New York Times reporter Robert Pear. They’re lying. The words "established by the state" appear 9 times in the ACA. No "drafting error" is repeated that often.
The words were inserted deliberately to induce states to set up exchanges, says MIT Prof. Jonathan Gruber, foremost architect of Obamacare, and Sen. Max Baucus, D-MT, who chaired the committee that drafted the ACA version that became law.
Mr. Pear mentioned neither – par for the biased course at the New York Times. Let’s see if the Supreme Court can avoid such blatant bias.
Obamacare is a cancer inside the body of health care in America — and it is metastasizing.
Nearly every promise Democrats made has been broken. The average family pays more (some much more) for insurance, not $2,500 less. About 9 million Americans (so far) have learned they can’t keep their health plan if they want to. Or their doctors.
Many employers say Obamacare is chiefly why 2.3 million fewer Americans have full time jobs than in 2007.
The ACA has hurt millions more than it’s helped. The worst is yet to come. President Obama delayed or altered (mostly illegally) unpopular provisions at least 50 times. If they’re implemented fully, up to 100 million who get insurance from their employers could have their policies cancelled, the American Enterprise Institute estimated.
As premiums and deductibles rise, and the job-killing employer mandate goes into effect, a "death spiral" – begun because so few healthy people have signed up – will accelerate. If the Supreme Court rules the ACA must be enforced as written, it would be a mercy killing.
Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret, and was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force during the Reagan Administration. He is the national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.