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  • Breaking Health Care Research: After One Year, the Effects of Obamacare Are Grim

    17 June 2009 - Washington, DC - Senators on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee begins mark-up consideration on the Kennedy Health Care bill. The bill which may cost over a trillion dollars is being debated by both sides of the Senate committee.

    This week marks the first anniversary of Obamacare. In response, Heritage analyst Brian Blase has provided a one-year checkup on the provisions that are already in place and the effects Americans are experiencing as a result.

    Obamacare’s more popular provisions were supposedly front-loaded, and liberals are taking full advantage of this in the ongoing attempt to build support for the unpopular law. This week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before the Senate Finance Committee on how, in her opinion, Obamacare is already benefiting Americans.

    But a closer look shows that her perception may be based more on wishful thinking than reality. Blase’s research highlights how many of the provisions of Obamacare are already impacting Americans in harmful ways.

    According to Secretary Sebelius, new insurance regulations “give millions of Americans important new health insurance protections.” But though these new rules are advertised as “consumer protections,” they often do the opposite. Blase writes that “Obamacare has resulted in insurance companies exiting markets, thereby reducing consumer choice.”

    Child-only policies provide a poignant example. Secretary Sebelius touted that under the new law, insurance companies would no longer be able to deny children because of pre-existing conditions. But the result of this provision has been that insurers in at least 34 states have stopped offering child-only policies altogether, reducing access to insurance for all children. Moreover, to counter the negative effects of Obamacare’s poorly executed “consumer protections,” HHS has awarded more than 1,000 waivers exempting people from the law’s annual limit requirements, since employees with limited-benefit health plans could otherwise lose coverage altogether.

    Secretary Sebelius also claimed that a new program that subsidizes health coverage for early retirees is giving businesses “relief from soaring retiree health care costs and retains coverage for Americans 55 to 64 years of age.” But, as Blase points out, “the program appears to be mostly a bailout for public-sector and union health benefit programs for early retirees,” so really, “The evidence suggests that this program shifts the costs of paying for unsustainable promises made to public and private unionized labor onto taxpayers.”

    Finally, Secretary Sebelius argued that Obamacare “holds insurers accountable and will help bring down premiums.” In fact, Blase writes,

    “[M]andating certain benefits has raised the cost of providing insurance, and this higher cost has been passed on to policyholders in the form of higher premiums. For example, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon has attributed 3.4 percentage points of its 17.1 percent rate increase to Obamacare, while Celtic Insurance Company in Wisconsin and North Carolina has attributed 9 percentage points of its 18 percent rate increase to Obamacare.”

    Though most of the major provisions of Obamacare do not go into effect until 2014, Americans are already experiencing its harmful effects. If the law is fully implemented, its negative impact will be even more far-reaching. To avoid further damage to the health care system and the economy, Obamacare must be repealed.

    To read Blase’s full report, click here.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Breaking Health Care Research: After One Year, the Effects of Obamacare Are Grim

    1. West Texan says:

      I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but I do smell a nefarious rat of national socialized care.

      To congress: Repealing Obamacare, along with the 17th amendment, is the constitutional thing to do. And while you're at it, throw in the 16th amendment. Roll up your sleeves and get to work!

    2. Linda Cincinnati,OH says:

      RE: Premium Increases / Regulation …"grants are unnecessary given competition among insurance companies and current state regulatory oversight. Even if they were necessary, the regulation is unenforceable. Hence, taxpayer dollars devoted to this regulation are being wasted."

      I completely agree.

      BUT, in the Individual Market, 31 states, and certainly in Ohio there is NO power to regulate, only to review rates for “actuarial soundness.” This leaves the individual policy holder with absolutely no protection, no matter how high and egregious rates and premium increases are.

      I know all too well enduring a 29%, 35%, 40%, and a 29% premium increase from 2007 YTD. I don’t believe anything has increased 133% in this time frame. After a 17 month complaint process with Anthem and ODI, and in spite of a personal MLR of only 50%, I have nothing to show for the effort other than escalating insurance premiums, with no end in sight.

      Your colleague, Mr. Haislmaier, notes the individual health insurance market is 9.4% of the total market for private health insurance. Given this number, I would expect your organization could bring pressure to affect change to this small group of citizens, who PAY the premiums, yet are held hostage to pay what insurers demand. There are only two choices:

      1. Drop coverage completely – exacerbating the problem

      2. Continue to pay for increasingly substandard products

      Suggestion: Focus on the solution Mr. Haislmaier offers: “the obvious, modest, and sensible reform is to simply apply to the individual health insurance market a set of rules similar to the ones that already govern the employer group market.”

      I trust your energy and expertise will focus on implementing solutions for this market.

    3. Bobbie says:

      Yes, it must be repealed! Everything Sebelius says in terms of "benefiting" is an out right lie. My husband's employer had to give up their insurance for another. From 12-31-10 to the present our out of pocket more than doubled! More so under the employers new insurance policy, which is BACKED BY GOVERNMENT! HEALTH PARTNERS!

      YES! IT MUST BE REPEALED!!!

    4. Brett Stevens, USA says:

      The history of regulation in American health care is simple: a complex situation is reduced to a few rules, which causes a ton of loopholes and confusions, and as a result prices rise and quality declines.

      Let's get health care entirely detached from direct supervision by insurance instead. That's the exact opposite direction from the one we have taken under Obama.

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    9. RalphPierre says:

      I can buy a car in any state of the Union. This way, I can shop around for the best price. In other words, the Free Market works to give me the best price. I cannot buy insurance in one state, and move to another state. Why? GOVERNMENT REGULATION. What is their answer? MORE GOVERNMENT REGULATION, MANDATORY PURCHASE, FINES, AND POOR PERFORMANCE.
      Congress exempted themselves from this monstrosity…THAT should tell you SOMETHING!
      This UNCONSTITUTIONAL "law" must be repealed, before it topples us off the cliff!

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