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  • Happy Birthday, Obamacare? What it Really Means for Consumers

    Today marks the one-year anniversary of Obamacare. While advocates spend the week highlighting the new law’s effects on different groups of Americans, we are doing the same. A review of the facts on the ground and the conclusions of Heritage research over the past year reveals the far-reaching negative consequences.

    Today, the focus is on the “consumer protections” included in Obamacare. To be sure, some Americans will benefit from these changes, but, as Heritage analyst Brian Blase explains, the overall result is that:

    “Obamacare has increased government control of Americans’ health care choices, raised the cost of insurance, forced insurers to stop offering child-only policies, broken the promise that an individual can keep his insurance unaltered, and bailed out underfunded union early-retiree health care plans. The early results suggest that Obamacare’s ‘benefits’ are not worth their costs.”

    Let’s take a look at several of the “benefits” the law was supposed to bring and their consequences:

    Good intentions reduce options for children. One “benefit” is a requirement that insurance companies accept all new applicants for child-only health plans, regardless of pre-existing conditions. According to the White House, this would “help children (and eventually all Americans) with pre-existing conditions gain coverage and keep it.” But under the new law, the opposite has actually occurred in several states. According to a survey conducted by Senate Republican Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee staff, 20 states no longer have insurance companies that offer child-only policies at all. And as Politico reported, “Health insurers in 34 states have stopped selling child-only insurance policies as a result of the health reform law, and the market continues to destabilize.”

    Without waivers, insurance rules would increase uninsurance. Obamacare prohibits health plans from placing lifetime or annual limits on benefits. But several employers offer “mini-med” policies with caps included to make them affordable. Blase writes that “employees would likely lose coverage if the plans were subject to the annual limit requirement.” To prevent increasing the number of uninsured as a result of these poorly thought out policies, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued more than 1,000 waivers affecting nearly 2.4 million employees.

    Heavy regulation companies cuts consumer options. Also included in Obamacare’s “consumer protections” is a requirement that insurers use a specified percentage of collected premiums for medical expenses, as opposed to administrative costs. What qualifies as a medical or administrative expense was ultimately determined by HHS, guided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The result of this requirement has been that smaller insurers have been forced to exit the market, reducing consumer choice.

    Preventive care mandates raise premiums. Finally, Obamacare requires health plans to cover all preventive services rated A or B by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Plans must also cover recommended immunizations with no cost-sharing. Blase writes that, after one year, “HHS has not yet clarified the preventive care regulations, and this has produced additional uncertainty in health insurance markets.” He adds, “the mandate requiring insurance companies to pay for preventive services with no cost-sharing has increased premiums while reducing consumer opportunity to select from a variety of plans, including ones with various degrees of cost-sharing.”

    Obamacare goes about insurance market reform in the wrong way. The unfortunate consequences of this will be reduced access, limited consumer choice, less competition among insurers, and higher premiums. To read more about the impact of the changes already made by Obamacare, check out Blase’s full report here.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Happy Birthday, Obamacare? What it Really Means for Consumers

    1. cowboy bob, montana says:

      Folks,

      I firmly believe that ObamatronCare is doing EXACTLY what the soviet socialists intended. It is destroying the current medical system in the country intentionally and will continue to break it down to the point where the government may then convince a majority of the lemmings that a single payer ala Euro-Socialism is the only option. I do not believe for one minute that the traitorous Pelosi/Reid/Obama axis-of-evil EVER intended for this thing to work in ANY fashion described in their propaganda. ANYone in congress who voted for this ABORTION should be impeached and thrown in jail. How can you vote for something a) you've never read and b) couldn't even begin to understand if you did? Criminal…in every sense of the word. Not too mention what's actually in it that IS understandable is in no way under the purview of the federal government.

      Want to fix medical care in this country…get the freakin' lawyers out of the business and let doctors charge their own retainer(insurance) for everyday health costs. The ONLY thing anyone needs an insurance policy for is catastrophic health coverage…period. Cheap…easy to understand…no damn government involvement of ANY kind. I won't spend weeks filling out mounds of paperwork for a 15 minute office business…that the doctor can then charge less for by the way.

      This is a tipping point in the history of the United States of America…we are either going to return to our roots of a free people restricted only by the most basic laws and entitled to pursue our lives in any course we so choose without burdensome interference from government….or we are going to become the next big welfare state that eventually implodes ala the Soviet Bloc.

      Cheers,

      CowboyBob

      Weeds, Montana

    2. Deb in Texas says:

      My children are now in their 30's. When they were little my office visit for them was $7, and I remember complaining when it went up to $10. This was before HMO's and PPO's. THAT was the office visit price. We purchased health insurance only for a potential hospital or emergency room visit. When HMO/PPO's came out all that changed. Now we have Obamacare wanting to take it even farther and it isn't going to work! (Disclaimer: Caps are expressive, I'm not yelling)

    3. Bobbie says:

      I agree with cowboy bob and I hear you, Deb. Our office visits before the new year was $15, prescription meds $20. Because of Obama’s con scheme, my husbands company couldn’t afford their previous insurance and changed it. Less costly to them makes it $45 dollar office visit and $45 dollar prescriptions for us. With a chronic illness, what is needed is stretched as much as possible, because we can’t afford everything going up in someone elses favor. My husband doesn’t get an automatic cost of living raise like those in government destroying our lives and our ability to live independently and hasn’t had one in over 8 years. Sure opens the mind!

    4. lynn says:

      i don't have any children at home anymore just me and hubby. but i know my dad is 90 years old never went to a doctor and is in good health. went 1st time last week dioctor said he will out live me no high blood pressure or anything . mind works great! hope i am in that good of health at that age… but he is now where he may need a doctor and scared for him w/ cut to seniorsi heard the obama are exspecting their third child…. how does that fit into obamacare. i heard you will only be able to have 2 at most under this plan or is that not true?what if you just don't go to a doctor no matter what do you still have to take obamacare? i do not want a chip under my skin. i want to be free . and just not go to a doctor. because i don't trust anything now as our government thinks of us as terrist just for being american it seems anymore. i heard a little child on the play ground say i better not say this is all i feel i can say. i want to be free

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