Human Events Blog

ObamaCare triumph: health insurance premiums skyrocket $3000

The greatest legislative disaster of the new millennium, ObamaCare, just keeps getting worse.  Investors Business Daily sums up the fiscal carnage of a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey:

During his first run for president, Barack Obama made one very specific promise to voters: He would cut health insurance premiums for families by $2,500, and do so in his first term.

But it turns out that family premiums have increased by more than $3,000 since Obama’s vow, according to the latest annual Kaiser Family Foundation employee health benefits survey.

Premiums for employer-provided family coverage rose $3,065 — 24% — from 2008 to 2012, the Kaiser survey found. Even if you start counting in 2009, premiums have climbed $2,370.

What’s more, premiums climbed faster in Obama’s four years than they did in the previous four under President Bush, the survey data show.

(Emphases mine.)  No big mystery about the reason for all this.  Every single prediction Barack Obama made in 2008 was utterly false – as a quick reminder, he promised 4 percent GDP growth and 5 percent unemployment by 2012.  The idea that anyone would start taking him seriously now is a real head-scratcher.

But nowhere was his ideology more at variance with reality than in the field of health care, which he understands no better than any other aspect of free-market capitalism.  Obama made all sorts of wild promises about cost containment, but the simple truth is that when expensive mandates are loaded onto any product, its cost rises, while availability declines.

IBD notes the weight of ObamaCare’s mandates, and warns us that it’s going to get much worse in the years to come, as more appendages of Obama’s malformed health-care monstrosity begin twitching:

It requires insurance companies to provide 100% coverage for various types of preventive care, bans lifetime coverage limits, extends parents’ coverage to offspring up to 26 years old, and requires plans to meet certain “medical loss ratios.” Coming up are rules on “essential standard benefits,” limits on deductibles, bans on annual spending caps, and much more.

The experience with state mandates show that they only tend to grow over time, and get more expensive. The Council for Affordable Health Insurance found more than 2,200 state benefit mandates, which add from 10% to 50% to the cost of coverage.

“One of the biggest cost drivers in our health care system is the steady proliferation of federal and state-based coverage mandates,” noted CAHI’s Victoria Craig Bunce.

Meanwhile, ObamaCare’s insurance reforms — guaranteed issue and community rating — will likely raise premiums, too.

And all this comes at a soaring public price, too, even before the thousands of jobs destroyed by its mandated increase to labor cost are considered.  ObamaCare is a fiscal time bomb set to blow ten years after inception, once Obama is safely out of office.  Its revenue mechanisms were front-loaded, while the big hit to the Treasury comes later.  When it detonates, it will nuke the federal deficit into orbit – and every subsequent effort to restrain this out-of-control spending will be portrayed as a heartless effort by greedy fatcats to murder poor people by taking away their health care.  Democrat con artists pretending ObamaCare was revenue-neutral were akin to a crooked banker offering an absurd balloon mortgage.  You can have a luxury home for only $300 a month!  Just try not to think about the payments quadrupling in a couple of years.

Congressional Budget Office estimates of the middle-class Americans population shoved into the pit of ObamaCare tax increases have already ballooned by 50 percent in the past year, and that will get worse as ObamaCare’s soaring insurance premiums price more people out of the health insurance market.  The ObamaCare “tax penalty” becomes an increasingly attractive alternative when insurance premiums keep rising.

And that will make insurance premiums rise even more, because insurance companies will feel obliged to charge more from their declining customer base.  Only one “solution” will occur to the ObamaCare con artists: increasing the tax penalty for noncompliance.  They can do it with the stroke of a pen, and they will.  The only reason they made the tax penalty so low in the first place is because they wanted to avoid headlines about titanic tax increases on the middle class.

How many uninsured Americans will that leave us with?  The CBO revised its estimates up to 30 million… which is roughly comparable to the number of legal American citizens who lacked insurance before ObamaCare – the most expensive, comprehensive Big Government failure since the Great Society.

Sign Up