• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Side Effects: The Obamacare Threat to Your Liberty

    Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that several health insurers “plan to raise premiums for some Americans as a direct result of the health overhaul.”

    Starting this year, Obamacare prohibits plans from placing lifetime limits on coverage, severely limits rescissions, and requires all plans to cover children up to age 26. Plans also have to fully cover preventive services and are prohibited from denying children due to pre-existing conditions. The list goes on. Since extra benefits cost more, it makes sense that insurance premiums would climb as a result of the new law. Insurers cited increases between 1 and 9 percent.

    Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius responded to the insurers’ claims in a letter to America’s Health Insurance Plans, where she wrote that “there will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases.”

    What does she mean by “zero tolerance”? She doesn’t beat around the bush: “We will also keep track of insurers with a record of unjustified rate increases: those plans may be excluded from health insurance Exchanges in 2014.”

    This threat by an Administration official against private industry is an example of the huge overstep of the federal government and threat to Americans’ liberty espoused by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). In a recent Heritage report, health policy expert John Hoff explores the ways in which the PPACA centralizes more power in Washington. Regarding the “unjustified” rate increases Sebelius berates, Hoff writes:

    The Administration is required, beginning with plan year 2010, to put in place a process to identify “unreasonable” increases in premiums and to require the insurer to post a justification for the increase online before its implementation. This constitutes guilt by allegation. PPACA does not provide a process for the insurer to explain the reason for the increase before it is branded unreasonable. Nor does it provide any standard for what qualifies as unreasonable. After HHS has labeled an increase “unreasonable” it is too late for the insurance company to defend the increase. The insurer’s explanation at this point, which must involve complex economic facts, may not have much effect on consumers. The threat of labeling an increase “unreasonable” gives the Administration unchecked power to extract concessions from insurers and, thus, to control how they operate.

    This isn’t the only way that the federal government will insert itself into every aspect of Americans’ health care. To read Hoff’s full analysis, click here.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Side Effects: The Obamacare Threat to Your Liberty

    1. Billie says:

      See how specif9c and unspecific wording of this administration and their dictatorial threats are detrimental to the understanding of the fact, this is take-over of America! Get government and costs, out of all aspects of the privacy of personal health! It is against the will of the people and human nature.

    2. Kevin H, College Par says:

      That list is amazing – about time something was done to stop the abuses of insurance companies. Thank you Obamacare.

      And based off the last decade where average premiums rose 147%, an increase of 1% to 9% would be an improvement – especially considering the wonderful list you created of the abuses that would be stopped.

      'Starting this year, Obamacare prohibits plans from placing lifetime limits on coverage, severely limits rescissions, and requires all plans to cover children up to age 26. Plans also have to fully cover preventive services and are prohibited from denying children due to pre-existing conditions. The list goes on. Since extra benefits cost more, it makes sense that insurance premiums would climb as a result of the new law. Insurers cited increases between 1 and 9 percent.'

    3. Mike, Exton, PA says:

      Your analysis is dead on. The Administration does not know anything about the free market and less about healthcare. I have had opportunity in the past to provide "insurance" (health care) for the uninsured.

      It was hard to find them and, if found, they believed they were better with nothing than a limited plan. It was often the enrollment process, mandated by a government entity, that kept them out of the system.

      Keep up the good work!

    4. Saundra Waecker, Oce says:

      Free market practices are only an annoyance for this administration and this Congress. Unfortunately companies unlike government can't just tax and print additional income. They have a bottom line. There are only 2 outcomes from this kind of attack on Insureres by our government; either Companies get out of the Health Insurance business or they ration care. Nothing good ever comes from government regulations like this because the unintended consequences always out number any intended good.This government has one goal and it is not to improve the Healthcare for the average American in our country.

    5. Drew Page, IL says:

      Sebelius and Obama won't have to worry about sanctioning health insurance seeking "unreasonable" rate increases in the future, because there won't be any health insurance companies doing business in the future.

      It's already starting to happen. CIGNA, Aetna and Anthem have announced their intention to drop insurance for children only, because of the requirement to eliminate pre-existing conditions limitations from their policies. When all insurance companies selling individual health policies are required to drop pre-existing condition limits from their policies, all of them will no longer offer this coverage. The reason is simple; without pre-existing conditions limits, people would only buy the insurance once they were diagnosed with an illness or had been involved in an accident for which treatment was needed. Once the medical bills were paid, people would be free to drop the coverage, only to buy it again once they needed it. No company can cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in claims for a few hundred dollars in premium and stay in business.

    6. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      This is like the attack on other Industries in America. 6% never was profiteering, so the good are not safe just being good (nor even best.) Kind of reminds you of Henry The Horse in Animal Farm. As I recall they worked him to death while they promised him green pastures. Promises are cheap, but as Heritage points out Obama's impossible promises ought to be suspect.

      The difference between Socialism and Insurance is choice. Now I understand why "Choice" is Obama's new buzz word. He means to deny Americans choice so he is already establishing the Newspeak to deflect criticism before it begins. I see a strategy to Redistribute Wealth above all things and every conceivable way. John Hoff said it beautifully, the Goldilocks Standard of Health Insurance, but that means the only Policy for sale is "just right." It can't be right for everybody, but the point was never choice, never fairness, just crappy Central Planning for everything.

      When Obamacare gets into high gear Mental Health Parity means dissidents like myself will be "diagnosed" and barbaric "treatments" will be used like occurred in the Soviet Union. Medical Care (whatever that is) will be forced on us and Central Planning will make quiet desperation the new American "normal" (Gosh! Don't you want to be "normal!") Don't look now but the precedence has already been set for Americans to pay back the benefits (if you should ever get them!) Gray Panthers better not spend money because the Government will create such chaos that nobody will be secure. That side effect will cut the whole Economy on the Demand side.

    7. Bethany, Washington says:

      Just frightening.

    8. Pingback: Must Know Headlines 9.22.2010 — ExposeTheMedia.com

    9. J. Zavisin Cincinnat says:

      Since when did Health Care Insurers give up on having A CEO, Board Of Directors, and Shareholders? So if the insurers can't get their pound of flesh from you directly, they will through limits of coverage and suppliers of health care. Quality of care will decrease as cost are reduced-bet on it! Docs will not be able to afford specialized degrees, etc. etc.etc. Bottom line, many folks who didn't want coverage to begin with and the folks who did not take care of themselves in earlier years will have created less than a second class health care system and the older folks who paid into the system for 50 and 60 years will not get the care they now need and deserve. Besides Obama and the Democrats, who really won here? Let's take out the garbage November 2.

    10. TJS, FL says:

      This is tyranny starting up. The Republican Congress starting in 2011 must defund these thugs. Take away all their pay and equipment.

    11. Seven Burke, Las Veg says:

      I think we Americans should institute a "zero tolerance" policy against this Administration and the left-wing liberal Democrats who instituted this unconstitutional mandate against the people.

    12. arnold collins says:

      happy i found this site.maybe i will subscribe

    13. Pingback: Scan the Truth . Com » Blog Archive » Side Effects: The Obamacare Threat to Your Liberty | The Foundry …

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.