“One of the big ironies of the health care debate was that supporters of the new law were arguing that government intervention was necessary to deal with the problem of consolidation in the insurance industry. ObamaCare was supposed to change all of that by fostering competition. But now we’re starting to get confirmation of one of the arguments that critics of the legislation were making — that ObamaCare’s onerous regulations would drive smaller insurers out of business, thus leading to further consolidation in the industry.”

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“Principal said its exit in part is because smaller insurers will have a hard time competing with bigger players under the overhaul. Expenses such as for sales forces are a bigger proportion of costs for smaller insurers, said Mr. Houston, making it harder to meet the new threshold on how much they pay out for care, known as the medical-loss ratio. ‘In the past, scale hasn’t mattered,’ said Mr. Houston. ‘But with administrative costs getting the focus,’ the company would have to grow significantly to stay in the business.”

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“The Principal Financial Group announced on Thursday that it planned to stop selling health insurance, another sign of upheaval emerging among insurers as the new federal health law starts to take effect… Principal’s decision closely tracks moves by other insurers that have indicated in recent weeks that they plan to drop out of certain segments of the market, like the business of selling child-only policies. State regulators say some insurance companies are already threatening to leave particular markets because of the new law.”

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“Mr. Obama also said repeatedly that if you like your current coverage, you can keep it. According to an analysis by John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis, that won’t be true for between 87 million and 117 million Americans. Either their employer will stop providing insurance, or they’ll see benefits go down and co-pays rise as insurers and employers wrestle with the law’s mandates.”

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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.”

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ObamaCare’s mandates will cost many low-income workers their employer-based insurance coverage. The Administration promises to waive the regulations, but that merely further politicizes health care decisions and centralizes more power in Washington. “Any such criticism now triggers an autonomic reflex among administration spokesmen where they regurgitate the lines, ‘Americans have seen what happens when insurance companies have free rein. The Affordable Care Act ends insurance companies’ worst abuses.’ As if giving bureaucrats free rein to engage in abusive government practices is an improvement.”

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“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.”

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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.”

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“In 2003, 5.3 million Americans were enrolled in Medicare Advantage. Today, there are 11.3 million, or 24 percent of all Medicare enrollees. On average, Medicare only covers about 60 percent of health care costs. Medicare Advantage was designed to help fill the gap for those that can’t afford conventional supplemental coverage. Most of Obama’s Medicare Advantage cuts will hit those with incomes of less than $32,400 per year, according to a recent Heritage Foundation study. The Heritage study also projects 7.4 million more seniors will be forced out of Medicare Advantage within four years.”

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State budgets are already in the red, and ObamaCare saddles them with new costs for Medicaid expansions and to establish and implement new insurance exchanges.

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