Yes, ObamaCare Is Bending the Cost Curve … the Wrong Way

The price tag just keeps getting steeper.

Two events this month are drilling home an unshakeable fact: Not only is ObamaCare an unadulterated failure, but it’s shockingly more expensive than its supporters tried to make the public believe.

The first is a report released by Avalere, a health policy group, that examines the damage ObamaCare is doing to the health care sector.

Avalere’s analysis discovered that health plan networks tied directly to ObamaCare exchanges include “42% fewer oncology and cardiology specialists; 32% fewer mental health and primary care providers; and 24% fewer hospitals.” This means that a growing number of people who receive their insurance from the exchanges must go out of their network and pay for providers whose care does not count toward the out-of-pocket limits set by ObamaCare.

So not only can you not keep your doctor, but finding any doctor is becoming even more difficult.

The other blow in this one-two ObamaCare sucker punch is that, this month, state regulators will begin approving insurance premium hikes requested by providers in every state. The proposed hikes requested by the insurance companies have already been made public, though they have yet to be approved. Every increase over 10% requires regulatory approval, and while there is no guarantee that all these rate hikes will be okayed, the scope of the requests spells seriously bad news for a large number of individuals and families.

Nearly every state has multiple plans facing premium increases over 10%. A large number of plans, including those on the state markets, are facing hikes of anywhere from 30% to 50%. ObamaCare opponents predicted these steep hikes as far back as 2009, though supporters refused to believe they would come to pass. In reality, they were inevitable.

When the law first went into effect three years ago, insurers had to speculate what their rates would be from one year to the next because there was no hard data to measure the impact of ObamaCare on the health care sector. But Stephen Parente, a health finance professor at the University of Minnesota, explains in The Wall Street Journal that for 2016, the year that the rates currently being analyzed will go into effect, “insurers have a more complete picture,” and “it is clear that costs are increasing much faster than anticipated.”

Gee, who saw that coming? Democrats flat out lied about what was in store for the American people once ObamaCare finally took hold. The only generous alternative is that they were too ignorant to realize the damage that would be inflicted by a government takeover on the health care system. Either way, they are not to be trusted.

Compounding the problem is the termination of two programs in 2016 that have so far somewhat alleviated the pain — or, should we say, redistribute it. Risk corridors, which use taxpayer money to cover patients who spend more than insurers predict, and reinsurance, which uses taxpayer money to cover patients with outsized medical bills, are both going away. When they do, insurers will be forced to increase premiums even further in order to stay ahead of the high costs. This means the premium hikes in 2016 are just the beginning of the long-feared and widely predicted death spiral of insurance costs that ObamaCare created.

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