President Obama’s supporters are quick to tout his record as one of tremendous success, especially his “reform” of health care, but that is largely because they like him personally – not because Obamacare has been a rousing success.
By any measure the law, which has routinely been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court as constitutional despite the use of dubious legal justifications, remains largely unpopular among a majority of Americans. In addition to that, almost nothing of what the president and acceding Democrats promised the law would do has come to fruition. Indeed, on a number of fronts, the law has created the exact opposite effects.
Take the promise of a reduction in health insurance premiums. When the president was pushing the Affordable Care Act during his first presidential campaign and after he was elected to his first term, he claimed his legislation would reduce the annual premiums for the average family by $2,500. In fact, as documented in this video montage, Obama made the promise repeatedly.
Rates are only going to go up
But in reality health insurance premiums for most Americans have skyrocketed, along with deductibles. According to one report, premiums in some states are rising as much as 51 percent this year.
As Breitbart News reported:
According to states that have released rate requests, New Mexico’s market leader Health Care Service Corp. is asking for an average premium spike of 51.6 percent; Tennessee’s top insurer BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee wants an average spike of 36.3 percent; Maryland’s market leader CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield is requesting an average spike of 30.4 percent; and Oregon’s top insurer, Moda Health, is seeking a 25 percent spike.
Tens of millions of Americans have also seen their insurance deductibles skyrocket as well – many have become so high that customers have to delay care. Deductibles as high as $6,000 a year per family member are not uncommon.
But as bad as all of this sounds, it is about to get worse – much worse.
Under provisions of federal law, insurance companies are required to file rate increase requests a full year before they can implement them. Even then, state regulatory agencies must approve the increases.
Because new enrollees under Obamacare have been much sicker than insurance companies anticipated, they are requesting even higher rate increases for 2016. As reported by The New York Times, this year’s requests range between 20 and 40 percent:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans – market leaders in many states – are seeking rate increases that average 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota, according to documents posted online by the federal government and state insurance commissioners and interviews with insurance executives.
Other companies in other states, including Oregon, are also proposing increases.
“Rate increases will be bigger in 2016 than they have been for years and years and will have a profound effect on consumers here,” Jesse Ellis O’Brien, a health advocate at the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group, told the Times. “Some may start wondering if insurance is affordable or if it’s worth the money.”
The president won’t admit his reforms have failed
Because of the higher costs of coverage – and because they are not sick nearly as often – millions of young people have opted not to get coverage, thus skewing the numbers of healthy versus sicker consumers, thereby raising the costs for everyone.
None of this matters to the president, however, who arrogantly refuses to acknowledge the unworkable nature of his failed legislation.
Though he is responsible for these increases, and not the insurance companies (because he signed the Affordable Care Act into law and they must comply with its coverage mandates), Obama doesn’t think insurance companies should get them. He was on the stump in Tennessee recently arguing that state insurance regulators ought to refuse or scale back the requests.
If they don’t get them, a few things will happen. One, companies will go out of business, leaving even fewer coverage choices for consumers than they have now. Two, more Americans will be thrown into the federal system, which is already broke, inefficient and compensates doctors so poorly more that more of them refuse to accept federal insurance of any kind. And three, overall health of the American populace will decline because Obama’s “affordable” health reform will have become completely unaffordable.
The alternative – higher rates for all – isn’t a much better option.