People are pretty excited lately about the new health insurance regulations. And sure, I'll admit, it probably feels like a godsend for those who can now have health coverage who previously couldn't. No more lifetime limits! Hurray!
But oops, we forgot something: someone has to pay for all this. The more insurance companies have to cover the more they have to pay out. So if they want to stay in business they have to do exactly what they're doing right now: hike premiums across the board.
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/obamaca … foundation
"(CNSNews.com) According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study of employer-provided health insurance plans, the ObamaCare health reform law could have accounted for as much as 50 percent of the spike in insurance premiums in 2011.
The Employer Health Benefits Survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which specializes in health care issues, found that health insurance premiums had jumped by 9 percent in 2011, up from a 5 percent annual increase since 2007.
Drew Altman, president and CEO of Kaiser, first said that the premium increase was not because of ObamaCare but then went on to say that the ObamaCare law probably accounted for 1 to 2 percentage points of that increase, which he further explained in a column today (see below).
According to the study, health insurance premiums for employer-provided coverage -- the most common type -- have been rising at a steady rate of about 5 percent each year.
This year, however, that rate jumped to 9 percent for family coverage and 8 percent for single coverage.
This means that ObamaCare was responsible for anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of the 4 percentage point jump in insurance premiums this year."
While the Kaiser foundation downplays the role of Obamacare in the premium spike, it's also important to remember that this is just the beginning. The bill might be directly responsible for only 1.5% of the 9% increase, but what could have caused the other 2.5% above normal pre-Obamacare increases? Could some of it be due to the widespread panic and speculation in the healthcare industry, and thus indirectly relates to the healthcare bill?
And, of course, everyone regardless of income level pays the same for health insurance, all other factors being the same. So who does this increase hurt? I hope that fact is obvious: the poorer you get, the more it hurts. Obamacare is hurting the lower class.
And I hate to sound like a fear-mongerer, but this seems kind of consistent with a plan whose goal is to destroy private insurance completely and force everyone to go on the public option as private insurance becomes absurdly expensive. What will happen as insurance companies start taking on clients with preexisting conditions? I'm not opposed to the idea, but it should probably be subsidized. Insurance companies are having to take on customers that they have a high chance of losing money on. How are they going to get that money back? Premium hikes, people! And then, just for good measure, more premium hikes!
Didn't Obama say we could keep our current insurance? On paper, perhaps. He failed to mention that we can only keep it IF we can afford its rising costs.
So the poor and middle class will lose ther private insurance. And the rich? Ha ha! They'll hardly be touched. They'll still be able to fly to specialists in the Caribbean and golf for a couple of weeks afterwards. So much for closing that income gap.
Of course, there are ways of cutting costs too. Age limits on life-saving procedures? Hey, all the other hip trendy socialized countries are doing it! And how about that "end-of-life" counseling? I don't know about you, but it scares the everloving s*** outta me! But after all: dead people can't rack up healthcare costs!
People like my daughter, whose critical heart defect placed the odds very much against her survival when she was less than two weeks old. Fortunately, we were able to aggressively fight for her life and get her life-saving surgery from one of the most preeminent heart surgeons at one of the top children's hospitals in the country, and she is alive and flourishing today. What will happen to the next kid if some unelected bureaucrat decides that the potential gains of heart surgery aren't worth the cost? Truly, this is a great time to be alive!
If you can afford it.
Move to a country with a national health system. Inexpensive (far fewer levels of bureaucracy), genuinely comprehensive and accountable via legislatures. The mess in the US is worst of all worlds.
Or keep fighting for the US to become a civilized country with a health system like the other civilized, humane countries in the world.
1. I simply don't get why all these free market people wouldn't jump at the opportunity to unburden our corporations (read: emplowers) from the financial burden of providing health insurance for their employees. Surely this is a competitive handicap when companies in other countries with national health care don't have this cost burden?
2. Don't think for one minute that care rationing isn't happening now!
It's simply a question of who is making these decisions and the motive behind them. Should beancounters at Aetna or Blue Cross be the ones deciding whether I deserve an operation?
Gotta split out the profit motive from the care provision motive.
Gotta also stop looking for medical miracles to keep 90+ year olds alive when their bodies are shutting down.
And before you call me a granny killer, read my hubs on what I've been through to allow my mother-in-law to live out her final days in dignity at home.
She's in hospice now. 4
I am sure her insurance company will be thrilled that in her last 6 months of life she will NOT be costing them 5 ER visits, 3 hospital stays and being plugged into a machine in the ICU as she draws her last breath.
That's a hideous scenario I've also personally lived through with my parents.
In addition to what's been said in comments so far, I'd like to point out that the article straight up admits that the insurance companies' panic is responsible for a big chunk of the increase. It's just like when the economy was in a full-blown downward spiral and all of the big corporations were citing fears over Obama's new, evil, unpredictable changes in healthcare requirements and taxes as their reason for laying off countless thousands of people. And then, of course, they all posted record profits.
This is why private corporate monopolies over essential services are not such a great thing.
There is no more essential service than healthcare.
We have got to remove the profit motive from care delivery.
It's a SERVICE. It's a RIGHT!
The burden of non-existant healthcare is also a burden of the poor and middle-class.
True, but I don't see how the current bill is going to make things more "affordable" if it has the side effect of significantly increasing premium costs.
The bill doesn't increase premium costs.
Insurance companies set those on their own.
Logically, it should LOWER premium costs.
It's insurance after all.
More people paying premiums into the pot, spreads the risk over a much broader pool of insureds.
The problem is the relationship between the cost of care which keeps increasing and the premiums which even with 9% or 15% or 20% increases aren't covering it. Or ... the greedy, monopolistic insurance companies simply can't tolerate making smaller profits.
Hmmm. I wonder which?
26-year-olds can be covered on their parents' insurance now. Not intrinsically a bad thing, but now fewer 26-year-olds will have their own insurance. That's FEWER premiums in the pot.
People with pre-existing conditions can now be covered. Again, not intrinsically bad. But while that may be more premiums paid from these people, there's also a much higher risk that they will be collecting more than they pay into the system. Thus more risk that has to be distributed among everyone, thus higher premiums.
And I don't see how health insurance providers could possibly be monopolistic, not that I think they're upstanding examples of ethical business practice either--trust me, I've witnessed several cases to the contrary. But there's more than one of them, and they spend every December trying to underbid one another. There is real competition, which negates even the possibility of monopoly.
Now, if the public option becomes the new standard for health insurance and private companies can't compete with it then yes, that will be a monopoly.
I'm very much in favor of health care reform. I just feel the current bill was rushed, poorly thought out, may create unsustainable costs, and on the whole is not yet the solution we're looking for.
Glad to hear you say you're in favor of health care reform.
Your daughter's situation turned out well (thank God) but could so easily have bankrupted you had you not had your job and the insurance to cover her.
These days people are paying more $ only to find out their insurance doesn't cover something when it's too late.
Like banks and the credit card reforms -- the insurance companies will always find away around restrictions (e.g., no more preexisting conditions) to make their profit goals.
I agree the reform was rushed. But I understand exactly why Obama pushed it through at the beginning of his presidency. He wanted to make a bold statement. I don't think he knew how horrific his Congress was going to be. He probably saw how challenging and protracted the economic recovery was going to be. So he struck quickly. I do not blame him.
I think the reform doesn't go nearly far enough.
It needs a HARP 2.0+++ revision!
The entire industry has been transformed into a money hungry machine. Malpractice forced changes which only made things worse. You can't bottom line people. Medicare and Medicaid, if done away with, everyone who can't afford insurance, would become part of the overall system, and those programs are already funded by the taxpayer, but it has become too expensive (baby boomers) Everybody who doesn't have healthcare, wants it....but NOBODY wants to pay for it. The government subsidizes all areas, why not healthcare....could it be that the U.S. is broke?
gee, the easiest solution is a true free market, with no government run anything, local, individual state and church assistance and no insurance companies that hike rates of service and manipulate people's life decisions. let the services set their prices...a true free market system keeps service prices down across the board naturally by their very nature of no middle man to muck up the system
it is this simple...I make money for my service provided. i pay this much for basic necessities of life and this much for my medical care and doctor/health practioner of my choosing, and this much for my small, limited government.
States can create systems to help from within the budget of their own populace of the state and services adjust to need...can't you see that we have created most of our own problems by allowing the middle man and expanding government take care of me services?
No--without the not-so free market, we would be much better off.
Put money into the mix of anything and it's tarnished forever.
We need gvt...that cares about its citizens, not the shareholders of corporations, or the salaries of ceos.
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by rhamson 12 years ago
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