The “Affordable” Care Act may be looking for a new name in the near future. As Fox News and the Wall Street Journal are reporting, the next round of health care premium cost adjustments are coming down the pike, and you’ll never guess where things are heading. Okay… you probably guessed already.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that Obamacare rates are about to shoot up, in some cases as much as 40%. The rate increases requested by insurance carriers vary state by state, but the overall picture is bad.
“In New Mexico, market leader Health Care Service Corp. is asking for an average jump of 51.6% in premiums for 2016,” the Journal reports. “The biggest insurer in Tennessee, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, has requested an average 36.3% increase. In Maryland, market leader CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield wants to raise rates 30.4% across its products. Moda Health, the largest insurer on the Oregon health exchange, seeks an average boost of around 25%.”
The Washington Examiner reported today that in Oregon the primary insurance carrier is facing costs (payouts) exceeding premiums (income) by just over 60%. “Moda Health, which serves roughly half of (Oregon’s) individual market, is aiming to raise rates by an average of 25.6 percent. As Jed Graham of Investor’s Business Daily noted, Moda’s costs for 2014 – the first year of Obamacare’s exchanges — exceeded its premiums by 61.5 percent.”
Not all of the states are looking at rate increases in that range. Some of them are “only” going to be asking for increases in the ten percent range. But the direction is still consistent, and it isn’t down. You may recall that during the entire debate in the run up to the passage of Obamacare we were assured that one of the overarching purposes of the legislation was to halt the skyrocketing cost of health insurance, as well as making sure that more people could afford it. We were told this tale by Nancy Pelosi, though she later seemed to have forgotten saying it. Later, the message was fine tuned a bit and we were told that costs would not rise as quickly. On can only imagine what health insurance would cost in New Mexico without this legislation since they’re looking at a more than fifty percent jump in a single year.
So what’s causing this? The analysts who are already weighing in have concluded that the young and healthy are not signing up. This means that most of the new customers coming into the market are older and sicker and costing the insurance companies more money than the federal government planned to pay them through executive fiat and regulation of a free market system. Who could have possible predicted that, aside from nearly every fiscal conservative writing about it for years on end? It’s a mystery, I tell you.
One of our colleagues at Red State seems to believe that the fix was in long before the ink was dry on this deal.
So insurers accomplish the regulatory capture of our caring and compassionate government. The Unaffordable Care Act allows them to petition for ridiculous rate hikes and thereby make obscene and unjustifiable profits at taxpayer expense. The people getting paid by the insurers watch all of this with a gimlet eye. They see the fat wallets and want their cash-stuffed envelope as well. Companies like Air Methods then charge the insurers ridiculous rates in line with the ridiculous rates that the insurers will not pay. At that point, these costs get passed to the insured patient who can’t afford them. This is how the Unaffordable Care Act helps make healthcare that much more unaffordable.
Keep in mind that none of this happens in a vacuum. It’s not just those who are signed up through the Obamacare exchanges who will be seeing higher costs. (Assuming that the taxpayer funded subsidies don’t cover the spread, that is.) Even if you have your own insurance or are getting a policy through your employer, the costs are going up. So I guess everything worked out okay in the end, right? We should elect a whole new pack of Democrats to bring more comprehensive reform to our nation’s pressing concerns.