ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.

“Back when Secretary Sebelius was nominated for her current position, a colleague enthused that, ‘An insurance commissioner is a great choice for Secretary of HHS, because his or her direct contact with consumers provides unique insight into the challenges…..’ Unfortunately, Secretary Sebelius’ current direct contact with the Beltway political class and its ideological agenda obviously have far more significance than her previous direct contact with consumers, whose suffering under ObamaCare has only just begun.”

ObamaCare’s high-risk pools are a failure, with high costs leading to few enrollees. “It’s a centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s health care remake, a lifeline available right now to vulnerable people whose medical problems have made them uninsurable. But the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan started this summer isn’t living up to expectations. Enrollment lags in many parts of the country. People who could benefit may not be able to afford the premiums. Some state officials who run their own ‘high-risk pools’ have pointed out potential problems.”

New costs to companies offering retiree coverage will result in more companies ending their plans and putting enrollees onto government-funded insurance programs. “3M Co. confirmed it would eventually stop offering its health-insurance plan to retirees, citing the federal health overhaul as a factor.”

New insurance exchanges are supposed to make insurance companies more responsive to market forces, but will instead give government control over the market. “In theory, they will expose health insurance customers to greater competition while protecting them through regulation. Insurers participating in the exchanges, for example, will face strict limits on how they can price their premiums according to individual risk factors. In practice, they will likely prove difficult to design and implement, and may ultimately undermine the country’s quality of care. No matter what, there is little doubt that the exchanges will fundamentally alter the health insurance landscape across the states.”

“Kathleen Sebelius has been on a tear lately about ‘misinformation’ coming from the insurance industry, and the Health and Human Services Secretary took to these pages yesterday to defend her price-control plan for premiums. But if Ms. Sebelius is going to speak purported truth to power, she’s going to need more respect for the facts.”

ObamaCare is supposed to save money on Medicare through Accountable Care Organizations where doctors work together to lower costs, but they are unlikely to help. “In most regions, it’s likely that hospitals — particularly, multi-hospital systems with large groups of employed doctors — will form the ACOs. And if that happens, they will run the ACOs to serve their own interests first, and those of physicians and consumers second.”

ObamaCare’s Medicare Advantage cuts will especially hit the Latino community. “In fact, according to my colleagues’ estimates, nearly 300,000 Hispanics will lose or be dropped from their Medicare Advantage plan, or find that the plan they were in is no longer financially attractive, facing an estimated $2.2 billion loss in annual benefits. Plus, approximately 56 percent of New York seniors would lose their Medicare Advantage plans. So much for the President’s repeated promise that we would be able to keep our current health coverage if we liked it.”

“The Obama administration has a dilemma. On the one hand, it wants to be seen as the champion of preventive care — because these are the only tangible services that touch the lives of the 80 percent of the population that is basically healthy. On the other hand, a vast increase in insurance coverage for such services will only increase health care costs and crowd out access to care for those who have more serious medical needs.”

Research shows that firms are paying more to insure their employees because of ObamaCare. Despite presidential promises to lower premiums for businesses and families, premiums will jump 8.8% in 2011. “While health care reform cannot be blamed entirely for employers’ increasing cost, the incremental expense of complying with the new law adds fuel to the fire, at least for the short term.”

According to a study from Hewitt Associates, average workers will see the amount they spend on employer-sponsored health care jump by almost $500 next year. That includes both premiums and out-of-pocket costs. This is despite the promise that ObamaCare would lower premiums by $2500 for families.