ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.

“Two of Minnesota’s biggest health plans said Thursday they have temporarily suspended sales of individual health insurance policies because of uncertainty related to the new federal health reform law… Insurance officials said the industry has been scrambling to figure out the new federal regulations for months.”

“One of the major impacts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is that individuals and families will see higher health insurance premiums. Obamacare imposes several costly new mandates and restrictions on health insurers and providers that will raise health cares costs and therefore premiums. This paper lists a dozen factors that will contribute to higher premium costs.”

“Competition used to discourage insurers from providing lousy access to care, but under ObamaCare competition will reward skimping. Under ObamaCare’s price controls, insurers that gain a reputation for providing quality coverage to the sick will attract sick people and go out of business. Insurers that gain a reputation for providing lousy access to care will drive away sick people and thrive.”

“Senator Max Baucus recently admitted that he never read the new health care law. But that hasn’t stopped him from trying to re-write it after the fact, in a way that would drive more health plans from the market and give consumers less choice.”

A wave of new ObamaCare mandates are starting soon, and insurers are alerting customers than the mandates will cause premium increases. “CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports starting next week, your insurance company can no longer put dollar limits on essential benefits such as hospital and lab services. Dependent children will be covered to age 26. You’ll get preventive care with no deductible or co-pay. But there’s a price.”

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius threatened insurance companies to stop telling customers that higher prices can be blamed on ObamaCare. “But there is every reason to think this alleged libel is true. The health care law requires health insurers to do all sorts of things, such as eliminate lifetime limits on total costs, include various preventive care with no co-payment, and let unmarried dependent children stay on their parents’ policies until the age of 26. Additional requirements will take effect in 2014.”

“When a government report found that President Barack Obama’s health overhaul would modestly raise the nation’s total health care tab, the White House responded with a statistic suggesting costs would go down. Health reform director Nancy-Ann DeParle wrote on the White House blog last week that the same government report indicates spending per insured person will be more than $1,000 lower in 2019 because of the law — some 9 percent below previous projections… It turns out that may be fuzzy math.”

“Faced with the fact that the new health-care law was driving up insurance premiums, Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius warned that the administration would have ‘zero tolerance’ for anyone who blamed them for those price hikes… At the very least, she noted ‘bad actors’ could be excluded from new government-run health-insurance exchanges that will begin operation in 2014 under the law. That could cost insurers as many as 30 million customers nationwide. People also might not be able to use government subsidies to buy insurance from companies that don’t toe the administration line. What’s next? Only companies that write checks to the Democratic National Committee can participate? Have too many employees contribute to the wrong candidate, and you get a visit from the insurance commissioner?”

“Sebelius is threatening to put health insurers out of business in a substantial portion of the market if they state that Obamacare is boosting their costs. ‘Congress shall make no law,’ reads the First Amendment, ‘abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.’ Sebelius’ approach is different: ‘zero tolerance’ for dissent.
The threat to use government regulation to destroy or harm someone’s business because they disagree with government officials is thuggery. Like the Obama administration’s transfer of money from Chrysler bondholders to its political allies in the United Auto Workers, it is a form of gangster government.”

“[T]he Democrats wanted to provide benefits they could tout during the election. So they tucked all these fine sounding goodies into the law to take effect early. Unfortunately, until the individual mandate kicks in (and maybe/probably even after it does), some of these provisions give people every incentive to game the system by waiting until, say, their kid gets leukemia to buy a policy… If you really think that insurance price increases have nothing to do with costs, and everything to do with insurer greed, you need to explain a few anomalies. First of all, why did insurers all suddenly get much greedier now? And if they haven’t gotten greedier, then why did they wait until the middle of a recession to impose price increases just at the time when they are most likely to cost the insurers their healthiest customers?”