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Posts Tagged ‘Cost’
September 25th, 2013 at 5:19 pm
Self-Employed Health Insurance Rates Soaring as ObamaCare Nears

With ObamaCare’s insurance exchanges going online next week, there is suddenly an avalanche of information confirming that the law is bending the cost curve significantly upward for people already buying health insurance on the individual market.

The most famous example so far is conservative pundit Michelle Malkin’s notice that her high-end PPO policy is being eliminated by her insurance provider in order “to meet the requirements of the new laws,” i.e. ObamaCare.

Jim Angle of Fox News describes how a Kentucky family’s monthly premium is set to spike from $333 to $965. Humana, the family’s insurance provider, explains that “Increases aren’t based on your individual claims or changes in health status. Many other factors go in to your premium including: [ObamaCare] compliance, including the addition of new essential health benefits.”

Those “new essential health benefits” are a big part of what will make many plans bought by individuals and families unaffordable under ObamaCare.

As I write in this week’s column, the disruptive impact of ObamaCare on the self-employed is just one element of many that, taken together, articulates ObamaCare’s biggest lie.

Defund, repeal or replace – whichever it is, this law cannot be allowed to stand.

August 6th, 2013 at 7:25 pm
Ready for Your ObamaCare ID?

With just eight weeks to go until ObamaCare’s October 1 enrollment, the Health and Human Services department is scrambling to meet the deadline.

Its first order of business: A log-in portal where users can create a personal account.

In a few clicks you can get a sense of the kind of information you’ll be sharing via your account: family size, personal income, health history, age, gender and employment status.

Yes, some level of government likely has access to most if not all of this information, but it is ObamaCare’s user account that will, for the first time, house all of it in one place.

It will then be the Federal Data Hub’s job to share this information with the applicable state-based insurance exchange, and check your entries against another federal database to ensure accuracy.

As I’ve written before, the two federal databases will attract attention from hackers and identity thieves.

The ObamaCare user account creates a third inviting target.

Enjoy your privacy, while it lasts.

January 25th, 2013 at 7:49 pm
“Affordable” ObamaCare Lowers Standard of Living

The Wall Street Journal shows us that the price of “affordable” health care is a reduced standard of living:

The Affordable Care Act requires large employers to offer a minimum level of health insurance to employees who work 30 hours a week or more starting in 2014, or face a penalty. The mandate is a particular challenge for colleges and universities, which increasingly rely on adjuncts to help keep costs down as states have scaled back funding for higher education.

A handful of schools, including Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania and Youngstown State University in Ohio, have curbed the number of classes that adjuncts can teach in the current spring semester to limit the schools’ exposure to the health-insurance requirement.

The scaled back hours and pay for adjunct professors is part of a larger trend in a wide variety of industries.  Faced with lower thresholds that require new benefits, employers from universities to fast food restaurants face three options: pay-up, pay-out, or tap-out.  In other words, they can increase their health care spending, be fined for not increasing such spending, or cap the hours and pay of otherwise eligible workers to avoid the spending and the fines.

Unfortunately for workers, capping hours and pay reduces their standard of living.  But don’t worry.  In 2014, Obamacare mandates that every state will have a fully functioning health insurance exchange where newly impoverished workers can get “affordable” health care – some even with government (i.e. taxpayer) subsidies – so it’s a safe bet that all will be well when the feds are in charge of at least 25 separate state programs.  Right…

December 5th, 2012 at 3:15 pm
Text of Marco Rubio’s Speech to Jack Kemp Foundation

Human Events kindly provides the full text of Senator Marco Rubio’s speech at last night Jack Kemp Foundation ceremony bestowing on him its annual Leadership Award.

While the entire speech is a must-read, a passage on a specific health care reform struck this conservative as especially attractive:

In addition to promoting Flexible Savings Accounts, we should create a health insurance system that focuses on empowering people, not bureaucracy. People should be able to buy a health care plan that fits their needs and budget, from any company in America that is willing to sell it to them. And they should be able to buy it with tax free money, just like their employers buy it for many of them now.

That is, until Obamacare fully kicks in.  Since Obamacare’s regulations on employers only apply to full-time workers, there is a regulatory incentive to minimize the amount of full-time workers one employs.  In order to avoid either the stiff compliance costs or the steep penalties for failing to comply, employers are likely to increase the trend of laying-off workers, scaling back hours, or using contract workers in order to avoid the profit-killing expense of paying for all of Obamacare’s new required benefits.

Because of the entirely predictable response to Obamacare’s mandates, millions of American workers are likely to be caught in an employment trap where they work just enough at two or more jobs not to qualify as full-time employees with benefits.  If Republicans are unable to repeal Obamacare, then fixing the tax code to allow independent workers to buy affordable health plans with pre-tax dollars is one of the next best moves.  Marco Rubio seems poised to lead that charge.

June 11th, 2012 at 1:07 pm
College Costs: Cause/Effect Relationship Dawns On Government, Academia
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Under the headline “New Course in College Costs,” today’s Wall Street Journal meditates on something that should be obvious:  “As Student Debt Grows, Possible Link Seen Between Federal Aid and Rising Tuition.”

A “Possible Link?”

Apparently, it’s news to academia that federal subsidies lead to higher prices:

Rising student debt levels and fresh academic research have brought greater scrutiny to the question of whether the federal government’s expanding student-aid programs are driving up college tuition.”

But don’t try telling that to the Obama Administration, famously callous toward anything that includes the concept of “profit” or “private”:

A spokesman for Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the administration believes there is a link between federal aid and tuition increases at for-profit schools, but that it sees no such tie with public and nonprofit schools. “

The real-world data contained in the report, however, contravenes the Obama Administration’s party line:

Tuition and fees at four-year public schools have risen 150% since 1990, to an average of $8,244 per student this past academic year, according to the College Board, an advocacy group made up of universities.  Over the same period, federal grants and tax benefits rose 242%, to an average of $4,292 per student, said educations consultants Kathy Payea and Sandy Baum, who conduct the College Board’s annual research on college prices.  Federal loans per student tripled.”

Unsurprisingly, George Will cogently captures the phenomenon in his latest column entitled “Subprime College Educations”:

This bubble exists for the same reasons the housing bubble did.  The government decided that too few people owned homes/went to college, so government money was poured into subsidized and sometimes subprime mortgages/student loans, with the predictable result that housing prices/college tuitions soared and many borrowers went bust.  Tuitions and fees have risen more than 440 percent in 30 years as schools happily raised prices – and lowered standards – to siphon up federal money.”

It’s just unfortunate that George Will remains too scarce on the syllabi of government and academia.

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September 28th, 2011 at 5:13 pm
Then: Obama Said ObamaCare Would Reduce Premiums; Now: Premiums Jumped 9% for 2011
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

So how many times must Barack Obama be wrong – flatly, indisputably, wholly, precisely wrong – before he withdraws from American political life out of pure shame?

Today provided another example.  In selling ObamaCare, his cornerstone “achievement,” to the American people, Obama promised on March 8, 2010 that his bill “reduces most people’s premiums.”  So what is actually happened in just the first year since he made that assurance?  The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust report that health insurance premiums rose 9% this year.  Employers’ average yearly premium for families climbed from $13,770 last year to $15,073 this year, and from $5,049 to $5,429 for individuals.

Perhaps this explains why Obama’s Justice Department curiously didn’t seek to delay United States Supreme Court review of ObamaCare this week – maybe even Obama suddenly wants it overturned as quickly as possible.