Blue Cross of North Carolina announced their rate increases for next year and blamed ObamaCare regulations for some of the added costs. “While citing rising medical care costs as a primary driver in the proposed rate increases, company officials said provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act health care reform law also will impact rates charged under the two plans. Those provisions include requiring insurers to remove the cap on lifetime benefits, enhance preventive care coverage and allow unlimited mental health services, prescription drugs and other types of care.”

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HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius claims ObamaCare is a partnership between the federal government and state governments, not a national take-over. Given the vast new powers claimed by Washington after ObamaCare, the pleas of cooperation ring hollow.

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The outside groups that championed ObamaCare and continue to campaign on its behalf are admitting defeat behind closed doors when it comes to claims that the law will lower costs. “The presentation also concedes that the fiscal and economic arguments that were the White House’s first and most aggressive sales pitch have essentially failed.”

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A top Democratic pollster outlines the incredible drag ObamaCare is for his party. “Despite lofty predictions that a broad-based Democratic constituency would be activated by the health care reform bill, recent polling shows that the bill has been a disaster for the party — with near 60 percent of voters saying that they oppose the measure.”

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ObamaCare promises painless cuts to Medicare through savings reached via Accountable Care Organizations. These ACOs will not be successful, because they rely on heavy-handed, bureaucratic control of doctors and patients.“Accountable care organizations (ACOs) are the latest fad. They were even included in the newly passed health reform bill, whose backers expect ACOs to raise the quality and lower the cost of patient care at the same time. Detractors, on the other hand, describe them as ‘HMOs on steroids.’”

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ObamaCare creates numerous expert panels to make determinations about the worthiness of many medical treatments. Supporters say these decisions will never amount to rationing, but the experience we already see with similar boards suggest otherwise. “If there’s an American precedent for the medical central planning of ObamaCare, it’s the Food and Drug Administration. Witness a looming FDA ruling that may deplete the drug arsenal for terminally ill cancer patients.Last month, an FDA advisory board recommended withdrawing government approval of Avastin as a treatment for advanced breast cancer. The decision betrays a bias that puts costs above treatment, and unless the FDA leadership overrules its own experts, the 40,000 women killed by breast cancer each year will be denied an important clinical option.”

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“ObamaCare expands coverage to millions of Americans, but, warns Professor Shirley Svorny, without stronger measures to expand the supply of healthcare providers and contain costs, we can expect a physician shortage and soaring premiums. The California State University, Northridge economist suggests options for lowering costs and dismantling state-level regulations that restrain competition and innovation.”

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Large employers are expecting next year’s health costs increase more than they did this year, with ObamaCare’s new regulations taking much of the blame. “While there was uncertainty about the regulations determining grandfathered plan status, the majority of employers (53%) were still planning to make changes to their plan designs. To comply with the law, employers are having to remove lifetime dollar limits on overall benefits (70%), make changes to annual limits on specific benefits (40%), remove annual dollar limits on overall benefits (26%), and remove pre-existing conditions exclusion clauses for dependent children under age 19 (13%). Employers are still evaluating retiree health offerings as a result of new provisions related to taxation of retiree drug subsidies as well as changes in Medicare Advantage plans.”

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According to an analysis by Weiss Ratings, several small insurers will be driven out of business by ObamaCare’s new restrictions. “Martin D. Weiss, president of Weiss Ratings, said in a statement that provisions in PPACA, such as the removal of certain reimbursement limits and mandated coverage for pre-existing conditions, will force health insurers to spend more on medical care. ‘Most large health insurers will be able to handle it. But we are concerned that weaker, less profitable insurers will be forced out of the market, reducing competition and ultimately leading to fewer choices and higher premiums for consumers,’ he said.”

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce formally objected to the recently published regulations to implement ObamaCare’s provision to “grandfather” existing insurance plans. The regulations are very strict, and would likely grant exemption to only a small number of current plans. Complying with ObamaCare’s regulations will lead to higher insurance costs for companies, or lead those companies to drop coverage altogether.

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