“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.”
“McDonald’s Corp. has warned federal regulators that it could drop its health insurance plan for nearly 30,000 hourly restaurant workers unless regulators waive a new requirement of the U.S. health overhaul. The move is one of the clearest indications that new rules may disrupt workers’ health plans as the law ripples through the real world.”
Businesses are unable to plan for ObamaCare’s new mandates and taxes, because of the regulatory complexity. “But at this point, the answer is just not knowable, since regulators still have to write so many regulations, including what health services employers will be required to cover under mandatory insurance.”
When the Congressional Budget Office develops budget estimates, they use a static analysis that only measures direct revenues and expenditures. A dynamic analysis looks at the amount of lost productivity from ObamaCare’s huge tax increases to determine that the economy will produce $706 billion less than it would otherwise. This lost value means the actual debt will be $753 billion higher after 10 years because of ObamaCare.
In the teeth of a severe recession, ObamaCare supporters pushed a government take-over of the health care system filled with job-killing taxes and mandates instead of any activity to promote economic growth. This fact is only now dawning on many progressives. “Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), the president of this Congress’s first-term Democrats, said that his party’s months-long battle to pass healthcare reform might have come off as a distraction considering the tough economic climate in the U.S.”
With new medical-loss ratio regulations and an expansion of government involvement in the insurance purchasing process, insurance brokers are likely to cease to exist as an industry. “Insurance agents and brokers and small insurance companies are among those who may have to scramble to stay afloat over the next few years. This is partly by design and partly an unintended consequence of a new law that is so sweeping, it will affect nearly every corner of an industry that accounts for one-sixth of the U.S. economy.”
Insurance agents are looking at the government’s plans to create insurance exchanges and are worried that they’ll be made obsolete and driven out of business. They are assuming that the fee insurance companies pay to brokers will be considered an administrative cost by new “medical-loss ratio” regulations and that insurance companies will be forced to lower those costs to comply with ObamaCare.