Barrasso: Obamacare Premiums Depend on Side of Street You Live On

Thursday, 08 May 2014 06:29 PM

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U.S. Sen. John Barrasso says his disturbing find that some Americans pay more for their Affordable Care Act premiums than their neighbors is proof of how unfair President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law is.

"It is nutty … [You] save money or end up paying more depending on which side of the street you live," the Wyoming Republican told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"[A] person living on one side of the street or the other could end up paying up to $600 a year more … Not because of their health, not because of fitness, not because of pre-existing conditions, but solely because of which side of the street they live.

"This is happening all over America. There's so many of the unintended consequences of the healthcare law, but people know that they're not being treated fairly."

Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, analyzed costs in three states participating in the federal healthcare exchange: South Carolina, Louisiana and Arkansas.

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While, insurance companies once based your premiums on factors such as how likely a person is to use the insurance, that has been replaced by a "community rating" allowing only a few factors to be considered.

Those include how likely your neighbors are to use their insurance.

"When they set up the exchanges around the country and in different states, they had to draw the lines someplace to have insurance companies bid on providing insurance in certain areas," Barrasso said.

"We found a number of locations where depending on which side of that line or which side of that street you live, your premiums can change dramatically.

"It has nothing to do with living a healthy lifestyle, it just has to do with what the insurance companies decide. They want to choose what they're going to be charging in different neighborhoods … One rancher said you know, it used to be a preexisting condition. Now, he said, I'm being penalized for a pre-existing zip code."

Barrasso also said there is no more incentive to stay healthy to keep insurance premiums lower.

"In [Obama's] view of society with equal outcome for everyone, he's removed the incentives for appropriate behavior. That's one of the big problems of the healthcare law."

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