Tags: feldstein | pelosi

Feldstein: Pelosi Bill Raises Cost of All Insurance

By Gene J. Koprowski   |   Tuesday, 10 Nov 2009 10:53 AM

Former Reagan White House economic adviser and Harvard professor Martin Feldstein reckons that the proposed healthcare reforms in the House bill passed under Democratic speaker Nancy Pelosi could have the “unintended consequences” of raising health insurance premiums for all Americans and increasing the pool of uninsured patients.

“A key feature of the House and Senate health bills would prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to anyone with preexisting conditions,” writes Feldstein in The Washington Post.

“The new coverage would start immediately, and the premium could not reflect the individual's health condition.”

Feldstein said this feature of the bill may create a strong incentive for the healthy to drop their health insurance, saving the substantial premium costs.

“If serious illness hit this person or a family member, he could immediately obtain coverage,” writes Feldstein.

“As healthy individuals decline coverage in this way, insurance companies would come to have a sicker population. The higher cost of insuring that group would force insurers to raise their premiums.”

This will trigger a new crisis for the health industry.

“The higher premium level would cause others who are currently insured to drop coverage, pushing premiums even higher. The result would be a spiral of rising premiums and shrinking numbers of insured,” writes Feldstein.

Right now, 176 million Americans get their insurance through employer-based plans. Workers usually pay about 25 percent of the premium cost, or $3,340.

But that will change quickly.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that employers will be required to transition to plans which are approved by the feds 18 months after the ball is passed.

“That's like a banker telling you to sign the loan agreement now, then filling in the interest rate and repayment terms 18 months later,” writes Betsy McCaughey, the chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and a former Lt. Governor of New York state.

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Former Reagan White House economic adviser and Harvard professor Martin Feldstein reckons that the proposed healthcare reforms in the House bill passed under Democratic speaker Nancy Pelosi could have the “unintended consequences” of raising health insurance premiums for...
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