Sebelius Finally Admits Premiums Will Rise as a Result of ObamaCare – Katie Pavlich

Sebelius Finally Admits Premiums Will Rise as a Result of ObamaCare – Katie Pavlich.

bummercare-e1352561798629Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is finally admitting that the Affordable Care Act isn’t actually that affordable. Think tanks have been warning for years about the expensive cost of ObamaCare and many have already seen their health insurance premiums rise as a result of its implementation yet, the administration has denied the bill will actually increase costs for consumers until now.

Some people purchasing new insurance policies for themselves this fall could see premiums rise because of requirements in the health-care law, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters Tuesday.

Ms. Sebelius’s remarks come weeks before insurers are expected to begin releasing rates for plans that start on Jan. 1, 2014, when key provisions of the health law kick in. Premiums have been a sensitive subject for the Obama administration, which is counting on elements in the health law designed to increase competition among insurers to keep rates in check. The administration has pointed to subsidies that will be available for many lower-income Americans to help them with the cost of coverage.

The secretary’s remarks are among the first direct statements from federal officials that people who have skimpy health plans right now could face higher premiums for plans that are more generous. She noted that the law requires plans to provide better benefits and treat all customers equally regardless of their medical claims.

“These folks will be moving into a really fully insured product for the first time, and so there may be a higher cost associated with getting into that market,” she said. “But we feel pretty strongly that with subsidies available to a lot of that population that they are really going to see much better benefit for the money that they’re spending.”

smugpackageMost people who have “skimpy plans” have them because they either a) don’t need a fancy health insurance plan b) can’t afford a health insurance plan. Forcing consumers into plans they don’t need or can’t afford is counter productive. Not to mention, Sebelius argues consumers will see a “much better benefit for the money that they’re spending.” Better benefits? Does she mean better benefits of having fewer doctors?

Most physicians have a pessimistic outlook on the future of medicine, citing eroding autonomy and falling income, a survey of more than 600 doctors found.

Six in 10 physicians (62 percent) said it is likely many of their colleagues will retire earlier than planned in the next 1 to 3 years, a survey from Deloitte Center for Health Solutions found. That perception is uniform across age, gender, and specialty, it said.

Another 55 percent of surveyed doctors believe others will scale back hours because of the way medicine is changing, but the survey didn’t elaborate greatly on how it was changing. Three-quarters think the best and brightest may not consider a career in medicine, although that is an increase from the 2011 survey result of 69 percent.

“Physicians recognize ‘the new normal’ will necessitate major changes in the profession that require them to practice in different settings as part of a larger organization that uses technologies and team-based models for consumer (patient) care,” the survey’s findings stated.

About two-thirds of the survey responders said they believe physicians and hospitals will become more integrated in coming years. In the last 2 years, 31 percent moved into a larger practice, results found. Nearly eight in 10 believe midlevel providers will play a larger role in directing primary care.

A51n45ECEAA-RuMOr how about the better benefits of fewer life saving medical devices thanks to the innovation and job killing medical device tax in ObamaCare?

Biomedical or medical device engineering firms are already laying off workers who develop crucial medical products due to the “unforeseen” costs, or in other words, the costs of ObamaCare. Not to mention, the more money these companies pay to the government, the less money they have to invest in research and development.

The Obama administration is no longer trying to lie about ObamaCare, instead they’re simply trying to justify the lies by making everyone feel better about the so-called benefits ObamaCare will offer at a much higher price.

 

WOLF: Kathleen, I’ve got a feeling you’re still in Kansas – Washington Times

WOLF: Kathleen, I’ve got a feeling you’re still in Kansas – Washington Times.

Republicans embrace big-government health care Sebelius left behind

By Dr. Milton R. Wolf – The Washington Times

Liberals are a curious breed. They actually believe the government can mandate you into prosperity. They wave a magic wand, and the universe bends to their whim. At the end of each day, they rest their weary heads blissfully – willfully – unaware of the damage they cause.

Witness Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Before she was wielding the iron fist of power granted to her by Obamacare, she was the Kansas’ governor and, before that, the Kansas insurance commissioner. Health insurance mandates were her stock in trade, and with each new government dictate, Kansans saw their premiums increase. No matter how well-intentioned, the very nature of a mandate is that it forces consumers to buy something they don’t want, or why the need for a mandate? It’s unavoidable, then, that Kansas families’ costs increased and many simply could no longer afford insurance.

The net result? Mrs. Sebelius chased nearly a dozen health insurance companies out of the state, leaving behind 40,000 Kansans who no longer had health insurance. That President Obama would choose her to head HHS and implement Obamacare is telling and terrifying.

I reject the demonstrably destructive government-mandate approach to health care. Unfortunately, Mrs. Sebelius‘ ghost still haunts Kansas, and it’s the Republicans who are giving it life.

The Republican-dominated Kansas House of Representatives recently passed yet another Sebelius-style health insurance mandate, by an overwhelming margin, 92-30. The party that claims to stand against government-run health care is nonetheless voting for the government to run health care. The Republican-controlled Senate will take up the issue and, presumably, send it to Republican Gov. (and former presidential aspirant) Sam Brownback.

Proponents of these health care mandates always have sympathy on their side, and often good intentions, but little else. This particular mandate favors autistic children, and who doesn’t feel compelled to help anyone in need, particularly a child? Yet, as these politically popular mandates are imposed and health insurance premiums skyrocket, patients (and their family budgets) suffer.

I’ve been asked, by self-described conservatives, no less, how I can turn my back on children with autism. Excuse me? Having dedicated my life to serving patients and, like most doctors – and this is not an exaggeration – having freely donated my time to the needy probably every single day I work, I know their question reflects more upon them than me. But I also realize it is emotional appeals like this that quickly persuade squishy conservatives to do the bidding of big-government liberals. But the response to this tactic should be obvious.

How can the supporters of government mandates turn their backs on mothers with breast cancer or grandfathers with strokes or children with leukemia? Among the 40,000 Kansans priced out of health insurance by the toll of mandates were these very patients – and many others. The big-government crowd may be blissfully unaware of the damage their well-intentioned mandates cause, but the patients left behind without insurance know it all too well.

The mandate crowd claims it’s the “greed” of health insurance companies that leads them to “discriminate” against this year’s cause, but does that make sense? Is there a single company – or person, for that matter – who isn’t interested in maximizing its income? Surely auto insurance companies are just as greedy as health insurance companies, yet auto premiums stay low while health premiums explode. What’s the difference? Are we to believe auto insurance companies are run by altruistic angels but health insurance companies are run by greedy devils?

Kansans are allowed to purchase car insurance directly from any provider across the country, and you won’t find state mandates that force your auto insurance company to cover windshield-wiper blade replacements or oil changes. You also won’t find tax penalties that coerce you into buying auto insurance through your employer rather than on your own, but that’s another story.

So which is more effective at keeping costs lower and serving Kansans – the big-government health insurance mandates or the auto insurance free-market approach? Is there a single person who believes we have an auto insurance crisis in America?

All companies are greedy, if by greed you mean they hope to maximize profits. But the best antidote to greed is not government, it’s competition. Allow Kansans, in fact all Americans, to purchase whatever health insurance they choose. Quit dividing patients into political blocs. Eliminate all state mandates (and the tax penalties for directly purchasing insurance rather than employment-based, but again, that’s another story.)

State mandates, by their very nature, eliminate competition. It’s ironic that supporters of mandates don’t realize – or perhaps they do – that their approach creates oligopolies within each state where only a few large companies can operate and artificially drive up prices. The free-market approach, on the other hand, opens the door to innovative companies like Geico and Progressive, which have revolutionized auto insurance.

Every state faces this dilemma between destructive but poll-driven big-government mandates and demonstrably effective free-market reforms. If Kansas, one of the reddest of the red states – with a Republican-controlled House, a Republican-controlled Senate and a Republican-controlled governor’s mansion – can’t stop the Barack Obama-Kathleen Sebelius government-knows-best approach to health care, which state can?

Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a radiologist and President Obama’s cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com.

BLAHOUS: Health care law cripples U.S. finances – Washington Times

OBAMA: THE SOCIALIST/MARXIST/COMMUNIST -- UNMA...

OBAMA: THE SOCIALIST/MARXIST/COMMUNIST -- UNMASKED FOR ALL TO SEE (Photo credit: SS&SS)

BLAHOUS: Health care law cripples U.S. finances – Washington Times.

Most affordable outcome would be total repeal

By Chuck Blahous

One of the motivating principles underlying the passage of comprehensive health care reform was that it would substantially improve the federal fiscal outlook. But many are skeptical of claims that the law, known as the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, will simultaneously extend the solvency of Medicare, provide subsidized health coverage to more than 30 million new people and yet somehow reduce federal deficits. They are right to be skeptical.

The legislation greatly exacerbates projected federal deficits and increases an already unsustainable federal commitment to health care spending. Many do not understand these harsh realities because traditional government accounting methods – while useful in many respects – often obscure significant costs. Comparing the health care law to prior law, rather than the “alternate baseline” used by government scorekeepers, gives a complete estimate of the legislation’s fiscal effects.

Based on analyses published by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Medicare actuary, I project that relative to prior law, the legislation will add at least $1.15 trillion to net federal spending and more than $340 billion to federal deficits over the next 10 years, and far more thereafter. This sobering outcome arises even if all goes relatively well – that is, if the law’s cost-saving provisions are all successfully implemented. If, instead, future Congresses act roughly consistent with historical precedent, the law will add more than $500 billion to federal deficits in the next 10 years – growing to $600 billion by 2021.

One of the key issues in understanding the law’s fiscal effects pertains to its use of Medicare savings. The law contains several provisions to slow the growth of Medicare costs, and under law, Medicare can spend the full proceeds of these savings. Government scorekeeping conventions, however, ignore this effect. Meanwhile, the law also establishes an expensive new health care benefits program to be financed with these same savings. Together, these provisions spend far more than the law saves and will substantially increase federal debt.

There also is significant risk that the law’s new programs will cost more than originally estimated. Take, for example, its new subsidized health exchanges. As currently designed, the subsidy levels would require low-income people to shoulder a rising share of their health care costs over time. The exchanges also are designed so that one low-income person will get a substantial direct federal subsidy when he buys insurance through the exchanges, but his equally low-income neighbor with employer-sponsored insurance will not. This could create substantial pressure on Congress to expand the subsidies later to address perceived inequities.

Similarly, many of the law’s cost-saving provisions may not produce all of the savings now projected. Already highly controversial is the law’s establishment of a new Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to produce Medicare savings. These might be legislatively overridden, or IPAB itself eliminated. Furthermore, many of the law’s tax provisions are designed, like the current alternative minimum tax (AMT), to capture rising numbers of taxpayers over time. If Congress acts to forestall these tax increases, as it has with the AMT, revenues from these provisions will be far less than currently assumed.

None of this is to assert that these cost-saving provisions are necessarily the wrong policy choices, only that their proceeds cannot safely be spent until we are certain these savings have accrued.

Many have wondered how possible Supreme Court rulings on the law’s constitutionality might affect its finances. As the above analysis shows, the worst-case fiscal scenario would be to uphold the law in its entirety. Similarly, the best-case realistic scenario would be to strike down the law in its entirety. An even better hypothetical outcome from a financial perspective would be to uphold the law’s cost-saving provisions while striking down its coverage expansion, but no one expects this.

A more complicated situation would arise if the court strikes down the law’s insurance-purchase mandate but leaves its other provisions intact. CBO has estimated this would improve the federal fiscal impact by $282 billion over 10 years. This would ameliorate its fiscal damage but not by enough to turn the law into a net improvement. Such an outcome also would have severe adverse effects for consumers and insurers, increasing insurance premiums by 15 percent to 20 percent (according to CBO) if the law is not otherwise modified.

That comprehensive health care reform has made our untenable fiscal situation still worse represents a substantial failure of governance. To fulfill its original promise of bending down the federal health care cost curve, the vast majority of its subsidized coverage expansions would need to be repealed. Alternatively, aiming for a weaker standard in which the law is allowed to add to federal costs but not to deficits, roughly two-thirds of the law’s health exchange subsidies would need to be scaled back or other budgetary offsets found.

Whichever fiscal goal is pursued, it is imperative that corrections be enacted before the law is fully effective in 2014. History shows clearly that it is very difficult to contain the rising cost of a federal entitlement once individuals have grown dependent on it. Only by scaling back the new spending commitments made under the law will health care reform make the positive contribution to the federal fiscal outlook that experts across the ideological spectrum agree is required.

Chuck Blahous is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and public trustee for Medicare and Social Security. He is author of the center’s new study, “The Fiscal Consequences of the Affordable Care Act.”

ObamaCare: More Government, Fewer Doctors

ObamaCare: More Government, Fewer Doctors.

Written by Bob Adelmann   

After asking 501 practicing physicians about the future of health care in the United States, The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions’ conclusions were hardly surprising: under ObamaCare:

• More people will demand medical care.

• There will be fewer doctors to handle them.

• Those who do will get paid less.

• Those who do will be subject to increasingly onerous regulations.

In its heavy-handed attempt to provide medical coverage to some 34 million Americans, ObamaCare is going to provide it to them for free. But those “free” services are predictably going to increase the demand for medical care while simultaneously reducing the number of doctors available to supply it.

According to the Deloitte study, only one out of four doctors think ObamaCare will reduce healthcare costs, while half of them expect access to such care to be increasingly restricted. Those surveyed think there will be fewer hospitals and fewer physicians. And many of those remaining are likely to take administrative positions in the healthcare industry rather than continuing to provide hands-on primary care of patients.

Three-quarters think that as primary care doctors get busier, patients needing immediate attention will increasingly be sent to emergency rooms, which is likely to extend waiting times there as well. Four out of five are certain that it will be increasingly difficult for their patients to obtain appointments on a timely basis, and those patients will increasingly be forced to seek the services of “mid-level” health care from nurse practitioners and para-medical providers.

The doctors surveyed also are persuaded that because of ObamaCare the “best and brightest” coming into the workforce will likely avoid the healthcare industry. The survey also showed that the older doctors are increasingly looking forward to retiring rather than having to deal with the mass of new regulations and restrictions that are coming from ObamaCare.

This study reflects doctors’ attitudes shown in similar recent studies. For instance, the Fairfield County Medical Association in Connecticut looked at the pending cut in physicians’ reimbursements. In May of 2010 doctors were anticipating a pay cut of 21 percent. If they were implemented at the time, Fairfield estimated that 41 percent of county doctors would stop taking new Medicare patients, and one out of every four would drop Medicare altogether.

Those cuts weren’t implemented at the time, but delayed until January 1, 2012, and the reduction in Medicare reimbursement isn’t 21 percent but 29 percent. Physicians Practice estimated that a physician grossing $1 million from Medicare with 60 percent overhead would see his net income drop by almost 75 percent. As noted, “All medical practices are impacted by Medicare cuts, as most [doctors] tie their fee schedules to Medicare…Cuts to reimbursement will reduce your net income…and the quality of patient care your practice can provide.”

ObamaCare’s regulations are stifling those who are determined to stay in the health care industry. There’s the “Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute” which will examine the “clinical effectiveness of medical treatments, procedures, drugs, and medical devices [resulting in] incentives [or] penalties [or more] regulatory requirements.”

There’s the Independent Payment Advisory Board that’s tasked with reducing “the per capital growth rate in Medicare spending [which] would doubtless reduce Medicare physician payment[s]” even further.

And there’s the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative which will require that physicians be “burdened with [additional] time-consuming compliance and reporting requirements.”

Another study, this one done by Athena Health, showed that 79 percent of physicians are “less optimistic about the future of medicine [while] 66 percent indicated that they would consider dropping out of government health programs, and 53 percent would consider opting out of insurance altogether.”

As Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Health Policy at The Heritage Foundation, put it: “ObamaCare…entrenches the worst parts of today’s third-party payment system.”

ObamaCare, if it is enacted in all of its grotesque manifestations, will guarantee higher health care costs (direct and indirect), reduce incentives for physicians to practice medicine, reduce the supply of health care services, and increase the demand for that dwindling supply. None of it makes financial sense, either, as it is not driven by market incentives (profits) but by political expediency and social policy. The best thing that can be said about ObamaCare, if implemented, is that it won’t last long. Using the politically correct term, ObamaCare won’t be “sustainable.” In the meantime, don’t get sick.

It’s No Wonder a Plurality of Americans Want Obamacare Repealed – Heritage.com

 

The seal of the United States Department of He...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s No Wonder a Plurality of Americans Want Obamacare Repealed – Heritage.com.

Just as the Supreme Court has decided to take up the court cases challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, a new Gallup poll shows that the plurality of Americans–including even a plurality of independents–want to see the law repealed. Meanwhile, a new survey by the PwC Health Research Institute shows that health care and the deficit are tied as the second-most important issue in the presidential election, after jobs.

Gallup reports that, “Given a choice, 47% of Americans favor repealing the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, while 42% want it kept in place.” Breaking the numbers down by party affiliation, 80 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of independents, and 21 percent of Democrats are in favor of repealing the law. Among those who want to see it repealed, Gallup says that “66 percent of those favoring its repeal [say] it is very important that Congress take this action.”

The Gallup poll follows a report in late October by the Kaiser Family Foundation showing that 51 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of the law, while only 34 percent see it favorably, marking a “low point in Kaiser polls since the law was passed.” The reason: the decline in support was “driven by waning enthusiasm for the law among Democrats, among whom the share with a favorable view dropped from nearly two-thirds in September to just over half (52%) in October.”

There is good reason for the opposition and health care’s prominence in the presidential election. In 2011, the price of family health care premiums increased by 9 percent and, according to Kaiser Family Foundation CEO Drew Altman, Obamacare was responsible for approximately 20 percent of that increase. Those costs will only go higher as other parts of Obamacare are implemented. Heritage’s Kate Nix explains the effect of one such provision:

Obamacare institutes a premium tax on health insurers that offer full coverage beginning in 2014. Before it became law, Heritage expert Edmund Haislmaier wrote that such a tax would increase health care costs, increase taxes, create new inequities, be disingenuous, create perverse incentives, distort the market, and expand federal power.

In a recent study by the consulting firm Oliver Wyman showed that this tax will increase insurance premiums by, on average, 1.9 to 2.3 percent in 2014. The impact will grow with time, reaching 2.8 to 3.7 percent by 2023.

There’s even more to the story behind Obamacare’s unpopularity. This fall, Americans watched as the CLASS Act–the long-term care insurance component of the health care legislation–was put on the back burner as a result of its unsustainable cost, prompting Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to admit that the CLASS program can’t work, despite insisting earlier that it could (in the face of all evidence to the contrary). And since Obamacare was enacted, Americans have seen the federal government grant Obamacare waivers to unions and businesses to avoid loss of existing coverage caused by expensive new insurance requirements.

The new costs of the law are having a direct impact on America’s job creation. Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, testified before Congress that Obamacare will increase his company’s health care costs by an estimated $18 million per year—a 150 percent increase. That money would otherwise have been used to expand the company and create new jobs.

When Obamacare was enacted, Heritage president Ed Feulner said that, “Instead of empowering families and individuals to make their own choices, Obamacare empowers the bureaucracy to make those decisions for them.” Feulner predicted that though the left would say that the law would be popular with the American people, the realities of the law would turn public opinion in the opposite direction. In his words, ”Americans will not stand for it.” With the costs of health care increasing, the truth about Obamacare becoming more apparent, and opposition to the law growing, he appears to be right.

Another Part of Obamacare Increases Premiums

Another Part of Obamacare Increases Premiums.

Even without Obamacare, the United States faces rising health care costs and an economy struggling to recover from the recent downturn. Despite its supporters’ promises, the health care law does not solve these problems. A study released today by the National Federation of Independent Business highlights the impact of Obamacare’s new health insurance tax alone on Americans’ health care costs and the health of the economy.

Obamacare institutes a premium tax on health insurers that offer full coverage beginning in 2014. Before it became law, Heritage expert Edmund Haislmaier wrote that such a tax would increase health care costs, increase taxes, create new inequities, be disingenuous, create perverse incentives, distort the market, and expand federal power.

In a recent study by the consulting firm Oliver Wyman showed that this tax will increase insurance premiums by, on average, 1.9 to 2.3 percent in 2014. The impact will grow with time, reaching 2.8 to 3.7 percent by 2023. Like the nominal premium increases occurring due to already-enacted parts of Obamacare, these may sound insignificant on their own. But the cumulative impact—in conjunction with cost increases that would have occurred anyhow—will be much higher premiums for families and individuals: “For small group coverage, this will on average increase the cost to cover an individual by about $2,800, and a family by about $6,800 over a ten-year period, beginning in 2014.”

The NFIB study released today shows the effect that premium hikes will have on employment and job creation. As NFIB researcher Michael Chow explains, “For a small business owner who does not self-insure, this increase in premiums will be borne by both the employer and the employee, each of whom contributes toward financing the insurance.” The report shows that the new tax will reduce private sector employment in 2021 by anywhere between 125,000 and 249,000 jobs.

Of the jobs losses, 59 percent will come from small firms with fewer than 500 employees, and 25 percent will come from the smallest firms with fewer than 20 employees. The tax will also reduce real gross domestic product by $18–26 billion in 2021.

The main purpose of the health insurance premium tax is to raise federal revenue to pay for the costly parts of Obamacare, including its expansion of Medicaid and creation of new federal subsidies. The tax is projected to collect $90 billion in new revenue through 2020. But, as Haislmaier warns, “This insurance premium tax would create a new, permanent federal tax that could, and likely would, be increased by Congress in future years as the growth in new government spending in the legislation outstrips the growth of revenues to fund that spending.”

The health insurance premium tax isn’t the only provision of the health care law that hurts the economy. All told, Obamacare’s job-killing provisions will tax job creators, reduce investment, and cause the most harm to low-income workers. According to Heritage economists, “The best way to prevent further erosion of the economy is to repeal the new law.”

Alyene Senger contributed to this post.

Higher Health Insurance Premiums This Year? Blame ObamaCare – Forbes

Cover of "The Truth About Obamacare"

Cover of The Truth About Obamacare

Higher Health Insurance Premiums This Year? Blame ObamaCare – Forbes.

Sally Pipes, Contributor

Most Americans saw their insurance bills jump this year, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The average employer-based premium for a family increased a startling 9% in 2011. Over the next decade, rates are expected to double.

The Kaiser report is only the latest piece of research to indicate that ObamaCare isn’t driving down health care costs, as its proponents promised, but is instead accelerating their rise.

This year, the average premium for a family hit $15,073 — $1,303, or 9%, higher than the year before. And that’s on top of increases of 5% in 2009 and 3% in 2010.

Employees are picking up a substantial portion of that tab. They paid an average of $4,129 for their family insurance premiums this year — more than double what they shelled out 10 years ago. And that figure doesn’t include out-of-pocket health expenses.

These premium hikes have outpaced general inflation and salary increases — and thus are swallowing a greater share of American households’ budgets. A study published in the September 2011 issue of Health Affairs found that burgeoning health costs have decimated nearly an entire decade’s worth of income gains. In 2009, the average American family had just $95 more to spend at will than it did in 1999.

Worse, there’s no relief in sight. Next year, employers expect premiums to rise 7.2%, according to the National Business Group on Health.

Over the next ten years, American families can expect rising health costs to continue to offset pay raises. According to the Kaiser study, premiums are set to reach a whopping $32,175 by 2021. And more than 50% of employers have stated that they plan to shift a greater share of health-insurance costs onto their employees.

ObamaCare is to blame for much of these impending increases. Richard Foster, the Chief Actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), reports that America will spend an additional $311 billion on health care in the next decade because of the law.

CMS estimates the growth in health insurance costs will increase 10 extra percentage points in 2014 because of ObamaCare — a 14% increase, versus 3.5% without the law.

In 2020, the net cost of health insurance is estimated to be $271 billion. Without ObamaCare, that number would have been $248.7 billion — a difference of more than $22 billion.

ObamaCare drives up the cost of insurance by piling mandates and required coverage benefits onto every single policy.

Consider the so-called “slacker mandate,” which requires all family policies to cover adult children until they turn 26. According to a recent federal report, nearly 1 million young adults gained health coverage this year thanks to the mandate.

Of course, adding them to their parents’ policies isn’t free.

Towers Watson found that the rise in young-adult enrollment was responsible for premium increases of as much as 3% at many firms.

Even the feds admit that the mandate means that families will pay more. According to HHS, each new dependent will tack on an additional $3,380 to their parents’ insurance costs this year. By 2013, extra dependents will add $3,690 to families’ annual insurance bills.

That cost impact is even more significant because most of those who seek coverage through their parents know that they’ll need care. This “adverse selection” issue results in a sicker — and thus costlier — overall insurance pool.

Or take the “essential benefits package” — the list of healthcare services that all policies must cover. Already, benefit mandates at the state level force up premiums by an average of 10.5%, according to Pacific Research Institute scholar Dr. Benjamin Zycher.

Slathering federal mandates on top of existing state mandates will drive costs even higher — and thereby make coverage unaffordable for more people. Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Jonathan Gruber — a supporter and architect of ObamaCare — estimates that a 10% hike in the cost of the essential benefits package could increase the number of uninsured by 1.5 million.

There’s no way around it — ObamaCare isn’t saving anybody money. Americans should agitate for its full repeal and replacement– before they watch the cost of their health insurance consume yet another year’s worth of salary gains.

Sally C. Pipes is President, CEO, and Taube Fellow in Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute. Her latest book is The Truth About ObamaCare (Regnery 2010).

EDITORIAL: Obamacare showdown – Washington Times

EDITORIAL: Obamacare showdown – Washington Times.

Repealing socialized-medicine law would decrease health costs

Obamacare was supposed to make health care affordable for everyone. It failed. We now have proof that President Obama’s signature accomplishment is only making things more expensive. According to a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, health-insurance premiums for a family surged 9 percent this year – the largest jump since 2005.

That increase is more than double the rate of general inflation (3.8 percent) and quadruple wage growth (1.6 percent). The average American family’s health-insurance tab is $15,000 a year, which is double the amount paid a decade ago. Employers are stuck paying most of this, but employees are finding that the premium hikes cut into their ability to receive raises and cost-of-living adjustments. Employee contributions to health benefits have increased 168 percent since 1999, according to the Kaiser study. That’s quadruple the inflation rate and almost triple earnings growth.

The Kaiser study points the finger at Obamacare for up to 2 percent of this year’s cost increase. Allowing “children” up to the age of 26 to remain on their parents’ employer-sponsored plans is a massive expense. Obamacare also mandated that some plans provide preventive services, like mammograms, with no patient cost-sharing. The Kaiser study only looked at such direct costs of the experiment in socialized medicine, but this scheme also carries a host of indirect effects. For instance, insurance companies have jumped the gun and implemented rate hikes now out of fear of an uncertain future in which increases will be harder to implement when Obamacare’s controls are fully implemented in 2014.

Spiraling health-insurance expense is also a deterrent to hiring, particularly among small businesses. When the unemployment rate is stuck north of 9 percent, as it has been for most of this year, that matters a lot.

The good news is that three challenges to Obamacare made their way to the Supreme Court in the past week. The most important of these is the 11th Circuit case brought by 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Businesses. The federal appellate court in Atlanta had mostly upheld a ruling that the individual mandate was unconstitutional but found it to be severable, meaning it could be cut out and the rest of the law would stand.

The Obama administration on Wednesday formally asked the Supreme Court to review the health care law, which makes it more likely the legal questions could be settled in time for the 2012 elections. The justices will have to address the issue of how far the Commerce Clause can be stretched to expand the federal government’s reach – and whether the government can in fact mandate that Americans must buy a product simply for being alive.

It’s past time to end the uncertainty and overturn this ill-considered legislation. If spiraling health care costs are ever to be wrestled under control, we need to return control to consumers. Nothing else will work. Obamacare needs to go.