Rising Premiums a Sign of Impending Obamacare

Monday, 20 Sep 2010 03:28 PM

By Dick Armey

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From the FreedomWorks website.

Over a month ago, Sen. Max Baucus, D-MT, claimed that the American people’s unfavorable opinion of Obamacare would likely change over time:

Mark my words, several years from now, you're going to look back and say, "Well, that wasn't so bad after all."

Wasn’t so bad after all? In the next several years, studies have confirmed that Americans will face far higher insurance premium costs. By the year 2019, it is estimated that U.S. health spending will rise from about $2.5 trillion to $4.6 trillion.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services project that overall national health spending will increase by 6.3 percent each year over the next decade. In other words, healthcare costs will consume 1 out of every 5 dollars spent in the United States. According to the Wall Street Journal:

U.S. health spending is projected to rise 9.2% in 2014, up from the 6.6% projected before the law took effect…The creation of new high-risk insurance pools, a requirement that children can stay on their parents' insurance plans until age 26 and other early provisions will increase U.S. health expenditures by $10.2 billion through 2013, the report says.

This year, the number of uninsured Americans rose at a record rate to 50.7 million. USA Today reports that:

Driving much of the increase, however, was the rising cost of medical care; a Kaiser Family Foundation report shows workers now pay 47% more than they did in 2005 for family health coverage, while employers pay 20% more.

In the next few weeks, health insurance premiums are expected to rise by 1 to 9 percent due to the costly provisions in Obamacare. Last week, President Obama stated that:

As a consequence of us getting 30 million additional people healthcare, at the margins that's going to increase our costs — we knew that.

Of course, these costly consequences were not exactly included in his rallying speeches prior to the passage of Obamacare. Instead, the American people were told that “healthcare reform” needed to be passed immediately to “tackle needless waste and spiraling costs.”

The Obama administration is trying to change public opinion on the rising healthcare costs. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote a threatening letter to insurance companies stating that they were not allowed to blame premium hikes on Obamacare. She claims that "there will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases." It seems that insurance companies' only option is to keep silent about the reason for their rate hikes or be cut off entirely from government payments.

Polls show that the majority of Americans want Obamacare to be repealed as soon as possible. Kathleen Sebelius claims that she has “a lot of reeducation to do” in order to change that fact. However, perhaps Sebelius herself needs to be educated on why informed Americans oppose this counterproductive law. Sebelius should listen to her Health and Human Services predecessor Michael Leavitt who states:

What Congress passed this spring is the illusion of Medicare reform. It does not ease cost pressures but papers over them with unsustainable price controls. It will end in disappointment.

So far, all of President Obama’s healthcare promises are unraveling. In 2009, FreedomWorks predicted that “your insurance premiums will go up” if the Obamacare law is passed. Unfortunately, we have begun to see the unintended consequences of a bill that many lawmakers probably did not bother to read.

As Obamacare supporter Sen. Baucus, D-MT, said “I don't think you want me to waste my time to read every page of the health care bill.” In order to rein in spiraling healthcare costs, we must work towards repealing Obamacare and replacing it with patient-centered free market solutions that will lower insurance premiums for all Americans.


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