ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.

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Section 9001 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), set to take effect in 2018, imposes what it calls an “Excise Tax on High Cost Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage”, which has come to be known as the “Cadillac Tax.” This is a 40 percent tax on employer-sponsored health benefits that are defined as “excess benefits.” That means anything in excess of $10,200 (employee only) or $27,500 (family) coverage for 2018, with adjustments for subsequent years. The “excess benefit” includes not only benefits provided by the employer, but also the portion of premium paid by the employee, as well as any money the employee chooses to set aside out of salary to pay for health expenses via a Flexible Spending Account (FSA).

Obama-era boondoggles operate on a far grander scale. Consider the massive 2009 “Stimulus” package and all those “shovel-ready” jobs that never materialized. Or the $536-million loan guarantee for Solyndra, shortly before the solar power company went belly up.

Insurers have asked for double-digit rate increases for nearly 1 out of every 3 Obamacare plans that will be sold on HealthCare.gov for 2016 coverage, according to a new analysis.

And in three states—Delaware, South Dakota and West Virginia—every plan sold on HealthCare.gov is asking for 10 percent or more hikes in the prices of their premiums for next year, AgileHealthInsurance.com said in its report.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), despite its laudable policy goals, contains a provision that could negatively impact the health of millions of middle class individuals, and that is the so-called “Cadillac” tax. Increasingly it is being re-evaluated by policy experts, and there is growing sentiment that it should be rewritten or even repealed.

This excise tax was intended to encourage employers to eliminate overly rich healthcare benefits that could lead to excessive, inappropriate utilization of heathcare services and unnecessary healthcare spending. In addition, the revenue from the tax was to serve as a funding source for a portion of the ACA’s insurance subsidies.

Highmark Health said it would reduce its range of offerings on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, becoming the latest insurer to retrench amid steep financial losses.

The big Pittsburgh-based nonprofit company said it would continue to sell plans related to the federal health overhaul in all of the areas it currently serves, which span Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia. But “we will have less products in the market overall,” said David L. Holmberg, the company’s chief executive, who said Highmark had lost $318 million on its individual health-law plans in the first six months of 2015, after rolling out a very broad array of options that had attracted many consumers with chronic conditions who required costly care.

The state auditor says Hawaii Health Connector “wasted and abused” millions of dollars in public funds on an IT contractor.

In a report released this week, the auditor said the Connector awarded Mansha Consulting LLC $21.6 million in contracts, making Mansha its second-highest paid contractor.

The auditor said the Connector awarded multi-million dollar contracts based on personal recommendations instead of taking steps to ensure it selected the most qualified vendor at the best price.

The soaring costs of insuring the state’s poorest residents drove health care spending in Massachusetts up 4.8 percent last year, double the rate of growth in 2013, dealing a setback to the state’s efforts to contain medical costs.

The increase far exceeds inflation, which was 1.6 percent last year, and blows past a state goal of holding health care spending growth to 3.6 percent annually, according to a report to be issued Wednesday by the state Center for Health Information and Analysis.

Florida Healthy Kids Corporation is blaming President Obama’s health care law after notifying parents that health insurance premiums will increase for thousands of kids starting next month, jumping from $140 to as high as $284.

Healthy Kids, which offers insurance options where parents can pay full-price or get subsidized coverage depending on eligibility, said the increases will affect the families of nearly 34,749 children in the full-pay program. That’s about 19 percent of the organization’s 178,873 enrollees.

The last major piece of President Barack Obama’s health care law could raise costs for thrifty consumers as well as large corporations and union members when it takes effect in 2018.

The so-called Cadillac tax was meant to discourage extravagant coverage. Critics say it’s a tax on essentials, not luxuries. It’s getting attention now because employers plan ahead for major costs like health care.