Shock: Health insurers tell brokers premiums could ‘rise sharply’ next year

Via the Wall Street Journal:

Health insurers are privately warning brokers that premiums for many individuals and small businesses could increase sharply next year because of the health-care overhaul law, with the nation’s biggest firm projecting that rates could more than double for some consumers buying their own plans.

The projections, made in sessions with brokers and agents, provide some of the most concrete evidence yet of how much insurance companies might increase prices when major provisions of the law kick in next year—a subject of rigorous debate.

The projected increases are at odds with what the Obama Administration says consumers should be expecting overall in terms of cost. The Department of Health and Human Services says that the law will “make health-care coverage more affordable and accessible,” pointing to a 2009 analysis by the Congressional Budget Office that says average individual premiums, on an apples-to-apples basis, would be lower.

Keith Koffler at the White House Dossier blog observes:

Other insurers are offering similar forecasts. While subsidies will buffer the effect on low income earners, many in the middle class could be paying significantly more for their health insurance as Obamacare’s one-size-fits-all provisions take effect and consumers are forced to purchase higher-priced plans.

What’s more, healthy young people who have foregone insurance as not worth the cost will now have to have it – and pay for it – effectively subsidizing older, sicker consumers, since insurers in 2014 will no longer be able take health history into account when deciding on coverage and are limited in their ability to do so based on age.

Either that or hop onto mom and dad’s insurance – which they can do  until they are 26, which effectively raises mom’s and/or dad’s premiums, too.  Yippee!

Aaaand if that isn’t depressing enough, there is this:

THURSDAY, March 21, 2013 (MedPage Today) — 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.

[…]

Despite those pessimistic views, seven of 10 said they were satisfied about practicing medicine, although that number was lower for primary care providers and higher for younger age groups, the survey found. Dissatisfaction was attributed toward less time with patients, long hours, and dealing with Medicare, Medicaid, and government regulations.

And you know what? It’s going to get even worse because, as my friend Ken Gardener so accurately stated earlier:


Bbbbut our celebrity Prez would have you believe he’s never been a proponent of single payer. However, pesky videos out there exist that show otherwise. Obama in 2003:

Oops…

Anyway, if you’re like me and many others I know and have read about, your premiums have ALREADY gone up. As a result of it happening with me, I had to downgrade my health care plan to something I could afford. Sooo, no, I didn’t get to keep the plan I wanted to be on, Mr. President.

Anyone else?

Senate Democrats rush to repeal tax they rushed to pass without reading, first

**Posted by Phineas

Remember how the Democrats pushed and pushed to ram through Obamacare as fast as they could, despite huge public opposition? So fast, most didn’t even bother to read the bill before voting on it? So fast, the Senate had to use “Rube Goldberg” procedures to pass it? So fast, Nancy Pelosi said they’d have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it?

Those were the days, my friends.

But, now that they’ve found out about at least one part, the idiotic “medical devices tax,” Democrats, especially those from states where the medical device industry is important, are joining with Republicans to repeal it:

The Senate gave sweeping bipartisan approval Thursday to a proposal by Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., to put senators on record in favor of repealing a tax on medical devices – a key part of President Obama’s controversial health care law.

The Hatch-Klobuchar amendment to the GOP budget plan is the latest effort to roll back the tax that applies to a range of medical products, from surgical tools to heart devices. It’s among several taxes in Obama’s 2010 health care overhaul.

The amendment passed the Senate by a vote of 79 to 20. The bill that it was attached to did not pass, but the sponsors used it as an opportunity to rally support for repealing the tax — as well as a separate bill they’ve introduced to achieve that. 

“Today, bipartisan members of the Senate spoke loudly and clearly that this tax on medical devices simply must go.  It is a drain on innovation, on job creation and on our ability to provide ground breaking medical technologies to patients,” Hatch said in a statement.

The Affordable Care Act levies a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices with the goal of raising nearly $30 billion over the next decade.

The Obama administration, naturally, is opposed to repeal of the tax, because the money it is expected to raise is crucial to Obamacare’s funding. But Democratic senators from vulnerable seats don’t want to have to explain to angry voters why their pacemakers and prosthetics cost more, or why the pace of innovation will slow, as the profits that would have been plowed back into R&D instead goes to the Treasury.

Expect this to happen more and more as the full weight of the PPACA kicks in. An already impossibly unwieldy law will become increasingly unstable as people demand unpopular taxes be repealed or find ways to avoid them, until the whole structure just collapses.

Of course, some would argue (and I would agree) that this collapse is an acceptable outcome to democratic socialists like Obama and Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowski, who think and hope that the turmoil caused will lead people to demand what the Left really wants: state-run single-payer health care.

Our job is to remind people every day that Obamacare is itself the problem, that the only solution to rising medical costs is a program of patient-centered, market-based reforms that remove the price distortions caused by government intervention and respects the liberty of the individual. If someone says that “Too late, Obamacare is set in stone, we can only tinker with it,” just give them a one-word answer: “Prohibition.”

Meanwhile, we can enjoy the spectacle of liberals like Senator Klobuchar running screaming from the monster they helped set loose.

RELATED:

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

The horror of sequester: congressional aides might have to pay more for subsidized lunches

**Posted by Phineas

"House cafeteria, post-sequester"

“House cafeteria, post-sequester”

Have those heartless House Republicans no mercy, no soul? How could they do this to poor, starving congressional staffers?

Speaking at a hearing of the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, [Debbie] Wasserman Schultz worried that prices of meals in House restaurants are getting so high that aides are being “priced out” of a good meal.

At the carry-out cafe in the Cannon Office Building, where Wasserman Schultz has her office, you can get an 8oz bowl of Ham and Bean soup for $2. You can buy gourmet sandwiches and wraps for around $5. Both of these are cheaper than I can get at delis down the street from my house.

Her aides could walk across the street to the Longworth Building, which has a large sit-down cafeteria. Today, it is featuring a roasted stuffed Chicken, with asparagus and mashed potatoes, for around $7. Or, one could opt for a heaping 12oz bowl of Chicken Chili for $3.

There is also the tried and true method enjoyed by millions of workers around the country: a brown-bag lunch.

Curse you, Tea Partiers! Have you no sympathy for long-suffering, hard-toiling aides who make more than the median salary in the US?

You can imagine that I, who lives the life of luxury –bringing my breakfast four out of five days to work, my lunch every day, going out to a cheap dinner with friends just once per month– Well, dear readers, you can picture just how my heart breaks for people who might have to pay $8 for roasted stuffed chicken with mashed potatoes and asparagus, instead of seven.

I weep.

Actually, I don’t. In fact, Wasserman-Schultz and her overpaid entourage of whiny self-entitled oligarchs can go do something anatomically impossible to themselves. It was her party’s leader who thought of the sequester, it was her party’s leader who fought tooth and nail any effort ease what little real pain it would cause, and it was her party’s leader and his minions (including Debbie) who tried desperately to scare the American people with a “sequester terror” that turned out to be a giant nothing. If she and her staff now have to live a tiny bit more like us great unwashed, don’t expect sympathy from me.

Honestly, this is a glaring example of just how (to use a cliche) out of touch and removed from the everyday life of Americans those who live within the Beltway must be, especially the progressives. If the Republicans don’t use this monumental example of elite cluelessness as a populist club to beat the Democrats over the head with from now until November, 2014, they don’t belong in politics.

UPDATE: Mockery via Twitchy — #SaveTheStaffers

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)