ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.

“If there’s one aspect of Switzerland’s healthcare system that Obamacare should’ve borrowed, it’s the decoupling of health insurance from employment. The Swiss are free to pursue whatever line of work best suits their talents and interests — rather than settling for a job simply because of the health benefits. Further, by assigning individuals responsibility for securing their own health insurance, the Swiss system demands that its citizens be cost-conscious.”

“But as the president fights to keep the conservative-leaning state in his column this November, education officials here are complicating his campaign message by citing ‘Obamacare’ as a reason for the rising cost of student health insurance plans on campuses from Asheville to Wilmington.”

“Beginning in 2014, Section 9010 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will impose a new tax on health insurance providers… All of that said, starting in 2014 your fully insured health insurance premium renewal could have an extra 2% (or more) added on to it, representing the pass-through of this tax to you.”

“The future frightening payoffs of college loans are taking a backseat to the immediate and soaring costs of health insurance students are getting slapped with as they return to school this fall, all thanks to Obamacare. Because of a rule in the Affordable Care Act that lifts caps on policy payoffs, the cheap insurance policies typically healthy students previously got are skyrocketing, some over 1,000 percent.”

“Amid the political bickering, however, many have lost sight of the most important question: Does the aAffordable Care Act’ improve the quality of care and thereby make health care more affordable? The answer, unfortunately, is no. “

“But although Romer is right about the severity of the problem, she is dead wrong about ObamaCare’s role in addressing it. ObamaCare did not lay the foundation for sensible cost control, and did not partially ease budgetary pressures, as she asserts. Quite the contrary, ObamaCare will pour an ocean of gasoline on the health entitlement fire, and the supposed cost-control mechanisms are a mirage.”

“Regulations are slowly strangling HSAs. Under Obamacare, “fully insured” policies must spend at least 80 percent (small group and individual market) or 85 percent (large group market) of every premium dollar on health care related expenses (called the medical loss ratio or MLR). The remainder can be spent on administrative costs (improving health care delivery or combating fraud) and profits.”

“While it is too early to make a definitive connection, it appears that the regulation encourages young adults to switch from obtaining coverage on their own, where they will pay additional costs, to obtaining coverage as dependents, where parents and parents’ employers will foot the bill. The regulation hence simply shifts costs from one group of people (young adults) to another (their parents and parents’ employers). This sort of distortion contributes to increases in premiums that the Administration expects in response to the regulation.”

“Holtz-Eakin points out that this unconventional tax structure will dramatically skew the health care market in favor of non-profit providers. Insurers subject to the free will have to make up for the expense it imposes on their business somehow, either by cutting their costs or by raising their premiums. Those not subject to the fee will obviously not face this dilemma, and hence they won’t face any financial pressure to raise their premiums. However, the for-profit insurers subject to the fee will suffer the most, as their losses will be compounded by the fee’s non-deductibility. Holtz-Eakin calculates that for-profit insurers subject to the tax will have to raise their premiums by $1.54 for every $1 imposed on them by the fee just to break even.”

“But it’s not supposed to provide more coverage for the same dollars. It’s supposed to provide it for fewer dollars. Remember all the talk about how ObamaCare would ‘bend the cost curve down’? No doubt many of ObamaCare’s backers would prefer that you forget. When the cost curve remains the same or, as will almost surely happen, bends upward, they’ll be taking cues from the backers of RomneyCare in Massachusetts.”