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  • Morning Bell: Obamacare's Soaring Price Tag

    On January 21, 2009, Barack Obama stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and, in his inaugural address, pledged to America that he would “wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost.” What he did wield, of course, was a 2,000-page bill known as Obamacare. More than a year on, we now know that health care costs are soaring, and the President’s signature legislation is to blame.

    Most Americans know that medicine is getting more expensive, but a new survey puts a shocking sticker price on the rapid increase. The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust report that between 2010 and 2011, family premiums increased by 9 percent and for individual premiums by 8 percent. According to the survey, “The average premium for single coverage in 2011 is $452 per month or $5,429 per year … The average premium for family coverage is $1,256 per month or $15,073 per year.”

    What’s driving those costs? In large part, Obamacare. According to Kaiser Family Foundation CEO Drew Altman, the President’s health care legislation was responsible for approximately 20 percent of the increase in premiums. Heritage’s Kathryn Nix explains what parts of Obamacare are to blame:

    Provisions of the law that have already gone into effect are driving up the cost of premiums, including requiring insurance plans to cover children up the age of 26 on their parents’ policies and requiring government-approved preventive care measures to be covered with zero cost sharing by all plans.

    The bad news is that Americans can expect costs to go even higher. For starters, the full force of the law won’t even kick in until 2014–in other words, there’s an onslaught ahead. And even without Obamacare, premiums are skyrocketing and hitting small businesses. Just imagine what the future will hold. Nix warns that “already-enacted provisions are just the beginning,” and just next week, the Institute of Medicine will release its recommendations on what should and should not be covered under Obamacare’s “essential health benefits” package. What could be the result? Even larger premium hikes than we’ve already seen.

    With the cost of health care growing so tremendously over the past decade (for families, 31 percent higher premiums today than in 2006, 113 percent higher than in 2001), one might think that the news media would begin to ask whether the very law responsible for even higher costs ought to stand. That question, though, is not being asked, and the issue of Obamacare’s contribution to increased costs is not being examined.

    Fortunately, the very basis of Obamacare will face ultimate legal examination. Yesterday, the National Federation of Independent Business filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court appealing the 11th Circuit’s decision that the unconstitutional individual mandate could be severed from the Obamacare legislation. Twenty-six states, too, have lined up to argue their case before the Supreme Court, filing a petition for certiorari. Likewise, the Department of Justice yesterday asked the Court to review the lower court finding that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. The Washington Post reports that a decision will likely come next summer.

    While America waits for a decision from the Supreme Court, Obamacare’s damage continues unabated. Families, individuals, and businesses are paying higher costs for health care. New regulations are exacting a heavy toll on job growth. And there are more regulations to come. The good news is that Obamacare is not the only option–real reforms can reduce health care costs for all Americans. And that change can come with repealing Obamacare, offering consumers more choices of coverage and full ownership of that coverage, and giving states greater latitude to experiment and innovate with health care programs, as Heritage proposes in its Saving the American Dream plan.

    America’s health care system is already unaffordable, and Obamacare only makes it worse. Fortunately, there are conservative alternatives to the President’s flawed plan.

    Quick Hits:

    • The FBI has arrested a 26-year-old physics graduate and model hobbyist from Massachusetts for planning to attack the Pentagon and Capitol using a remote-controlled aircraft filled with plastic explosives.
    • Germany has approved the expansion of a fund to bail out heavily indebted European countries. Six of 17 euro zone countries still need to pass the agreement.
    • A cache of weapons from the botched Fast and Furious gun-running operation have been discovered in El Paso. Forty firearms were being stored for transfer to Mexico.
    • Forces from Libya’s interim government captured the airport in Sirte, dictator Muammar Qadhafi’s hometown. It’s one of his last two remaining bastions of support.
    • There’s more good news in the fight against illegal immigration at the state level. A federal judge has upheld part of Alabama’s immigration law. Read more about it on Foundry.org.
    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    46 Responses to Morning Bell: Obamacare's Soaring Price Tag

    1. Opie says:

      It’s a classic and brilliant plan drawn up by the lovers of the single, centralized, federally controlled health care goal. First, sabotage the private health care system with bureaucracy that is sure to cause outrageous prices and choke out any competition. Then the citizen dolts will scream for more government intervention to save us from the corrupt health care corporations. Because the citizens can’t see past the smoke screen and the media, they don’t even see how they are being led to slaughter. Once they get their single-payer system, they’ll cry for the way it used to be but it will be too late. Once the government assumes the power, it never gives it back. It will only mean more government in the future to fix the government problems that will arise from their mess.

      • Robert, TX says:

        Actually, they were 30% of the way there in 1965 – and it increased in the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's.
        But good ole George W. got the % up over 50%. Today, over 60% of ALL medical bills are paid by
        medicare, medicaid or state and county programs. Obama/Boehnercare is just the finishing touch, NOT the first stroke (by a LONG shot).

        • Bobbie says:

          I can agree to that. Obama promotes change? Guess the American constitution and the will of the people isn't included…

          • Nevia says:

            I guess the American constitution would rather let people go w/out healthcare. I guess the Constitution is only for the those who can afford to have one. I guess the Constitution protects the "choice" of expensive and more expensive insurance companies–I guess insurance companies need the "protection" and "freedom" of the Constitution, but ordinary citizens don't.

      • IAmAProudAmerican says:

        Sad but true.

    2. toledofan says:

      It's obvious that until Obamacare is repealed in it's entirety, the cost will continue to go up. I think by the time this bill is defeated we are going to have one big mess that the Democrats will own lock stock and barrel.

      • Robert, TX says:

        Yes sir, and it appears that the republican party is not even going to attempt a repeal – or to defund Obama/Boehnercare. So who is?

    3. J. Hunter says:

      Obama + Democratic Party +Support of radical left wingers and unions – Opinions of American People (0) – Objections of Republican Party (0 at time of passage) = Obamacare! Want to reverse things? Vote for the Republican reflecting your views and the guts to stand by them!

      • toledofan says:

        You're absolutely correct. I think we are seeing first hand the final push for the progressive lefts last attemp to create their ideological uthophia. It's really sad that their ideology won't allow them to see the destruction they are causing, but, at the end of the day they don't care.

    4. B Eric says:

      The intent of obamacare as stated is to move to total gov't control of health care. This would result in an end to descent Medical care for everyone. Virtual all advancements in medical technology have occured in the U.S. because of the incentive of PROFIT. In universal helthcare countries the is no profit motive. The great president obama on many occasions sais if you like your insurance co. you can keep it. Why then was I forced toswitch insurance companies? Please forgive the type o's

    5. Carol M Kite says:

      I've learned to be suspicious of anything coming out of Obama's socialist agenda, his suspect Czars, a Congress so entrenched in a lifetime career increasing their wealth, none in this administration interested in looking out for the taxpayers' best interests. All enjoy spending monies, long ago exxpended, disregarding the financial burden on current and future taxpayers as the debt & deficits grow. It's unconscionable to spend flagrantly beyond what the government coffers contain. I trust nothing from this administration/government, testament to its ignorant actions!

    6. End Of An Era says:

      How timely! I read the article and shortly thereafter opened the mail to find the announcement that our Health Insurance premiums will rise another 10% next year. 10% not bad you say?

      Since 2009 our premiums have increased 139% on the base of 2008 …we now pay 239% of the premiums as they were in 2008.

      Needless to say we have all but closed down the business, letting go all staff and returning to our original size of 26 years ago…my wife and I.

      Thank you Mr. Obama and I am sure our former employees feel as appreciative.

    7. Bob says:

      The deep pockets of Medicare are too tempting for hospitals, leading to the warehousing of and untold damage to our elderly.

      • Tom says:

        I'm quite sure you would not work for what Medicare pays hospitals and doctors, and take on the liability to boot. Next time you read your bill look at what was charged then look at what was paid. Much less than a plumber for the time spent.

    8. Sel Sothern says:

      Obamacare is an assault on every American's health and liberty. What it promises to do is regulate the private health insurance compamies with so many new taxes and fines that they could no longer afford to stay in business, and we could no longer afford to pay for it. By the same token, we would be forced into Obama's public insurance option where we are at the mercy of the Washington socialist bureaucrats for healthcare. It isn't free and it's a nightmare for every living American

      It;s not hard to drive down the cost of private health insurance and make it affordable to alnost everyone. The Republican plan makes it legal to buy health insurance across state lines, anywhere in America. The competition would really drive down the cost of health insurance, just as it does for life insurance.

    9. Lloyd Scallan says:

      When Obama shoved ObamaCare down our throats with the help of bribes, promises, Democrats, and the media, it set the standard for Obama's grandiose socialist plans. Once signed, he thought the American people would knuckle under like betten dogs. But like so many others of Obama's ideology, he failed to realize that Americans are not dogs and will fight what they know is not right for their country and families. He now sees his plans have been rejected by the overwhelming majorty of the people, despite the lies and distortions of his lackeys in the national media and Congress. So he's reverting back to the bullying, intimidating tactics he was taught by his communist mentors. Obama feels will will now force his agenda by executive orders and manipulating our Constitution.

    10. leftshot says:

      While it's obvious that if you force insurers to add costs to all their plans (coverage for children up to 26 years old, preventive services, remove annual and lifetime limits, add new administrative and cost tracking) that this will cause premiums to go up, not down, there seems to be a discrepancy in reporting regarding what Kaiser Family Foundation CEO Drew Altman said. I've seen it reported that he said:
      - The coverage for children up to age 26 accounted for 20% of the cost increase
      - The coverage for children up to age 26 accounted for 1-2% of the rise in premiums
      - All the changes currently required by the PP&ACA accounted for 20% of the cost increase

      These are quite different statements! Moreover, I cannot find any discussion of this in the Kaiser report, so I don't know where they derived these estimates, whichever statement is true.

      I'd like to see additional research to find out just what Drew Altman said and where he got this figure. There is no doubt Obamacare is taking things the wrong direction and actually adding to the premium increases, but understanding how much is an important piece of information.

    11. Wayne Grievo says:

      Pray for the health of the Supreme Court Justices… One more socialist appointed before Obama goes and………

      Living through this administrations time in power is like a nightmare that won't end.

      I've never wished time to pass quickly, especially being a senior, but I can't wait until November 2112.

    12. leftshot says:

      BTW, Heritage, myself and several others know how to cut in half the health care costs in this nation without impacting the quality of care one iota (actually it will increase the quality of care). The only thing preventing this from happening? Government regulation.

    13. John Copeland says:

      Actual statement by Drew Altman: "The health law enacted last year accounts for 1 to 2 percentage points of the premium increases in 2011." That accounts for only 8 to 18% of the overall increase – not 20%. And certainly does not mean the Obamacare is "to blame". for the 8 – 9% overall increase. Nor is the 8 – 9% increase out of line based on this statement from the report. "The average price of a family plan has risen 113 percent since 2001". That is 11.3% per year, higher than the 8 – 9% for 2011.

      It is one thing to oppose Obamacare in princial, but phony numbers are a different issue.

    14. Whicket Williams says:

      The people need to remember who the enemy is- The government, Both Republicans and Democrats, and EVERY incumbent, from dog catcher to president. NEVER trust ANY politician-Except maybe Ron Paul.

      • Bobbie says:

        Nice one, Whicket! Ron Paul!

        Herman Cain is an outstandingly genuine man and we do like Michelle Bachmann! None have any flaws and all are great, honest decent Americans that live up to their word!

    15. Ron W. Smith says:

      It's probably very difficult to separate the annual double digit-inflation characteristic of health care costs in America for the past many years from the current inflation due to the implementation of Obamacare. Health care costs in the United States have been outrageous for a very long time, which accounts for health insurance coverage here having an annual per-person price tag of at least twice what is paid anywhere else in the world where universal coverage is offered. And here we don't even have universal coverage, don't have portability of coverage for when jobs are changed or lost, and have what amounts to whimsical exclusions from coverage allowed insurers. Free market solutions, which we've long had in all facets of the health care industry, obviously haven't worked so far, and all "plans" for health care reform I've been reading about since the mid-1990's (including Heritage Foundation's version) leave lots to be desired since REAL cost control, universal coverage, and features like portability are either missing completely or are inadequate as outlined.
      When a coalition of health care industry people and those politically Right torpedoed both Single-Payer and Public Option as "socialism," the die was cast for health care reform. There won't really be any meaningful change–maybe for the very same reason William Kristol in the mid-l990's rejected Joseph Califano's book Radical Surgery and the Clintons' attempt at reform. He said any success by Democrats in reforming health care would be devastating to Republican interests.
      So here we sit, every American, victimized by politics as usual–nothing accomplished, much obstructed.

    16. Jeanne Stotler says:

      The gov't. institued DRG's (diagnostic related goals) this was to limit the stay in a hospital and the amount of care related to a diagnosis, this was suppose to lower cost. Well it didn't, readmit soared as did every other cost assoc. with the diagnosis. Now BHO says he's taking 500,000,000 from Medicare but not lower the amount charged to Part B, guess what, Supplement Ins. premiums will soar and force a great many seniors on to Obama's program and we will get less than minumum care, why because we don't work and cannot contribute to this monstrosity. If health care expencses have increased over 1000 % in the last 35 yrs, ( 9 day hosp stay in D.C. area 4/1972 was less than $900,with admis. through ER, today this will not pay for a ER alone) what do you think it will be the next 5 yrs. I have the itemized reciept to prove this.

    17. T. Krakower says:

      It is amazing to me that no one in Washington gets it. The only reasons health care is so high is the premiums insurance companies are charging. Your coverage goes down, your deductible goes up, and what is paid out to doctors and hospitals is being cut. So, as if the public didn't know, where is the increase in your premiums going? May be to the increasingly fat pigs ( CEO's ) of the insurance companies, On top of this many needless tests are done by doctors just to cover there butt in case of litigation. Fix the malpractice issue and the premium issue and you've fixed a good % of the cost of health care problems.

    18. flajim says:

      One factor that's not constidered is that as many fear they soon will lose health coverage as a result of rising insurance costs (due to the Wizard in the White House), they're rushing to have every little cough and pinprick examined before they have to pay full freight out of pocket. Sort of like the rush pizza parlors experience when their discount coupons are about to expire.

      As with any government over regulation, prices will rise. In Florida, we have some of the most expensive insurance in the country because of an eager beaver insurance department that wants to 'protect' us. Just north, in GA or AL, work comp is 2/3 less and auto insurance is about 1/2. Health insurance for individuals is nearly nonexistent and costs 33% to 50% more than those neighboring states.

      I forget who told us that "the government that governs least, governs best."

    19. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Obamacare's expense is one reason why it will probably be found unconstitutional.

    20. Plumber1911 says:

      My premium went up 68% in one year there were no claims on 5800.00 deductible plan.I did the responsible thing and changed carriers.

    21. Mary......WI says:

      Coingress can't defund Obamacare because f the provisions in the bill. The only way to get rid of this "thing" is to elect of conservative president in 2012 along with a conservative house and senate. Then it's gone!…I think?

    22. Bobbie says:

      does anyone remember the mantra "your health is priceless?" this was a mindset! And since, the government has been promising to reduce the costs? And have done not a thing but further complicate and expense the matter? Then we find out we're paying alot more expense only because of those that pay not a thing?? Then obama comes in with the exposure of single payer? When the single payerS are of the accountable forced to give to those government expects not to hold accountable? Lloyd is absolutely right on his assertion! The American government conducts themselves as Americans being the enemy! REPEAL THIS UNCONSTITUTIONAL DISASTER! It's not good for all the people and it's not worth what benefit may be there!

    23. Richard says:

      And what cost do we put on the lives of almost 50,000 Americans a year that Repiblicans murder? Are they, as the Tea Party believes, just to die for the glory of the Aristocracy? Since 9/11 the Republicans have supported the murder of almost 500,000 Americans (based on the Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Institution's multi year study of deaths caused lack of health insurance) by their continued opposition to universal healthcare. We spend 40% more on medical care than any pther country as a percent of out GDP, have the lowest life expectancy of any advanced country and the highest infant death rate. We spend more and get less. The latest increase is reported to be only 1.5% due to Obamacare. The problem with Obamacare is that it STILL includes insurance companies. But 50,000 dead a year is not good enough now the Repulicans want to get rid of the elderly, and eliminate Medicaid. How deep a pool of blood do the Republicans want before they are satisfied? Al Quada, 3,000, Republicans 500,000…who REALLY is the enemy?

      • Bobbie says:

        Being selective in what you're listening to that reports both sides and absorbing truth with your own observation according to the principles of the country, will help you to realize the enemy, Richard.

      • guest says:

        How many future children are killed by planned parenthood a hell lot more a year than 50,000
        Americans you say the Republicans murder.

    24. allen says:

      This is the same" Family "that is in with" Obama Solar Panel Factory Scams" (Solondra),' The Kaiser Family" Bundlers for Obama. You will see as these scams appear, They are all involved with different Co. seating on the Boards, being pushed to the front of the line to be paid first on all Guaranteed Govt. Loans from one co. to the next. . Research the" Kaiser Name" you to will be amazed. Do you remember the Libery Ships during WWII?

    25. judy olukotun says:

      I see it quite differently. Allowing 5 years to pass before Obamacare goes into effect gave plenty of time for the insurance companies to legally raise their rates. What would happen if the insurance companies with their profit margins, new buildings, and thousands of employees were….gone. It may be time for some doctors to look at their compensation differently, and maybe the profit margin in hospitals can be addressed. We need a change. Health care really should be a right, not a privilege, the quality of which depends upon how much you are able to pay. Or what insurance policy you can afford. Getting rid of Obamacare? Not an option. How to pay for it still is an issue.

      • lights on says:

        No way should healthcare be a right unless I can control your behavior, judy. It's a privilege! government control is already effecting our lifestyles and taking freedom of behavior and choice with them. the government has been forcing regulations on private insurance companies for years resulting in trained care and significantly LESS QUALITY! Obamacare is an evasive intrusion with unlimited corruption people won't see. It is a right to repeal on the sole basis of being unconstitutional.

    26. PippN says:

      "health care costs are soaring, and the President's signature legislation is to blame" You have to pass it to see what's in it.

    27. steve h says:

      So if the increase over the last year was 8% for an individual (even without many of the Obamacare provisions being enacted yet), by my calculations – that's a lot beter than 113% over 10 years.

      13% is much less than 8% growth – so basically you are sayign that Obamacare has already reduced the increase in premiums 40%, correct?

      That's for pointing out that Obamacare is already working!!!!

      • Craig Casey says:

        Steve, the 8-9% increase was because the 10% mandated limit for review. Premiums typically go up 5-10% per year, now they will go up 8-9 % every EVERY YEAR so the premiums increases are not subject to fed review.

        Obamacare does nothing to provide for the extra 30 million people "given" insurance. It does not add a single doctor or nurse. Only increases demand for healthcare. Get your facts straight, and while you are at it. figure out a way to pay for it!

    28. steve h says:

      Why haven't you linked to Kaiser's newest analysis that states:

      "a new analysis we’ve conducted attributes only 1.8 percentage points of the 8 percent to 9 percent rise in premiums to the insurance reforms. Moreover, this marginal increase as a result of the reforms also means that families have better coverage that protects them from catastrophic health care costs as well as lower out-of-pocket costs for preventive services like colonoscopies and mammograms. It’s logical that improvements in the quality of the product would increase the cost of premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs to some degree.

      The 2010 insurance reforms expanded financial protections to Americans with group or individual health insurance and included:

      1.designated preventive services must be provided with no cost-sharing;
      2.young adults can be covered under parent’s policies to age 26;
      3.a ban on rescissions;
      4.a phasing out of annual limits of less than $750,000;
      5.a ban on lifetime benefits; and
      6.a ban on preexisting condition exclusions for children. "

    29. 2Dokie says:

      Like everything else the dumbocrats obsess over, it does nothing for us and only increases federal power over our lives, in more ways than we'd like . Nothing they do is ever new.

    30. ckirkland says:

      Please America, wake up and work to repeal this terrible govt. care. obama care is a disaster. We will suffer, ask anyone coming from this system. Let's work together as Americans and get this party out of office. CK

    31. Betty P says:

      Where was the new Republican Congress in de-funding this nightmare. Absent from their duties for sure!!!
      Little known in this bill is that there is a 3.8% Sales Tax on homes sold after Jan. 1, 2013. No one mentions this but it will be another "tax" on the working class to benefit whom? Illegals who have no insurance for one.

      • Honeyteam99 says:

        Where was the new Republican Congress, Betty? They voted to Repeal the Health Care Bill on 01/19/2011 and the bill passed in the House 245 – 189. It is the Democrats in the Senate who were absent from their duties.

    32. dave gant says:

      Andrew Revkin, a science reporter who writes our Dot Earth blog, calculated that the population of Bastrop County has quadrupled since 1970: “The question is, will the public recognize that losses from such fires are mostly not the consequence of bad luck or fate, but bad planning?”

      “Planning,” of course, is an expletive in the libertarian-leaning politics of Texas.

      Another is FEMA – the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In Perry’s campaign manifesto, Fed Up!, FEMA looms as a classic example of the slow-acting, heavy-handed Washington bureaucracy he hopes to dismantle as president.

      Would you care to guess which agency arrived in Bastrop County, got temporary housing vouchers into the hands of the displaced families, and helped underwrite the cleanup of debris? You don’t hear a lot of FEMA-bashing in Bastrop County.

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