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Obamacare Imposes New Fees, Cost Increases On The Public

Obamacare was sold to the public based on the fallacy that it would cut healthcare costs, but each month brings additional evidence that it will drive up healthcare costs instead. The New York Times reported last week that "health insurance companies across the country are seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums for some customers, even though one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers. Particularly vulnerable to the high rates are small businesses and people who do not have employer-provided insurance and must buy it on their own. In California, Aetna is proposing rate increases of as much as 22 percent, Anthem Blue Cross 26 percent and Blue Shield of California 20 percent for some of those policy holders." Earlier, Obamacare resulted in hikes of 41-47 percent in health insurance premiums for some policyholders in Connecticut. The Times notes that in "other states, like Florida and Ohio, insurers have been able to raise rates by at least 20 percent for some policy holders."

Writing in the The Wall Street Journal today, Merrill Matthews and Mark Litow say that some premiums in individual markets may double due to Obamacare. One reason is that the "Congressional Democrats who crafted the legislation ignored virtually every actuarial principle governing rational insurance pricing."  "Although President Obama repeatedly claimed that health insurance premiums for a family would be $2,500 lower by the end of his first term, they are actually about $3,000 higher -- a spread of about $5,500 per family."

Most Americans will feel the brunt of a $63 per head fee imposed by the Obama administration, for which they will receive nothing in return. As the Associated Press notes, "Your medical plan is facing an unexpected expense, so you probably are, too. It's a new, $63-per-head fee to cushion the cost of covering people with pre-existing conditions under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. The charge, buried in a recent regulation, works out to tens of millions of dollars for the largest companies, employers say. Most of that is likely to be passed on to workers. Employee benefits lawyer Chantel Sheaks calls it a 'sleeper issue' with significant financial consequences, particularly for large employers. 'Especially at a time when we are facing economic uncertainty, (companies will) be hit with a multi-million dollar assessment without getting anything back for it,' said Sheaks, a principal at Buck Consultants, a Xerox subsidiary. Based on figures provided in the regulation, employer and individual health plans covering an estimated 190 million Americans could owe the per-person fee. The Obama administration says it is a temporary assessment levied for three years starting in 2014, designed to raise $25 billion."

The Obama administration is also levying a 3.5-percent fee (of dubious legality) on insurers that participate in federal health insurance exchanges created by Obamacare, a fee that will be passed on to the public through higher health insurance premiums. In the District of Columbia, small businesses are being forced to buy overpriced insurance on an Obamacare exchange by the “District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority,” which “voted . . . to require D.C. small businesses to buy coverage through the exchange. Although President Obama falsely claimed when Obamacare was enacted that “if you like your present health insurance, you can keep it,” Washington’s small “employers can stick with their current health insurer” only “if that provider opts into D.C.’s exchange.” Even if it does, employers “may see their rates increase . . . experts said.” The forced participation in the exchange will “apply to any company that has an office in the District with 50 or fewer employees.

Even liberal Democrats in the Senate like Al Franken are admitting that the medical-device tax contained in Obamacare will wipe out many jobs. In a statement in December, "Sen. Al Franken called it a 'job-killing tax’" that will "impair American competitiveness in the medical device field." Obamacare has triggered layoffs in the medical device industry. Employers are now cutting full-time workers and replacing them with part-time workers (which helps conceal high unemployment) to avoid Obamacare mandates that apply to full-time employees, a phenomenon chronicled at the Huffington Post and on Fox News. Obamacare will reduce employment by an additional 800,000 due to work disincentives and its bizarre income-cliffs for things like tax credits.

A 2011 study predicted that “790,000 Ohioans will lose their private health insurance and premiums will rise 55%-85% when Obamacare takes full effect in 2014.” Those percentages sound a bit high, but the study was done by reputable consultants and commissioned by the Ohio Department of Insurance.

Obamacare will harm the health care system. It contains racial discriminatory provisions and racial preferences that were criticized by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The Dean of Harvard Medical School, Jeffrey Flier, noted that Obamacare will reduce life-saving medical innovation. It arbitrarily discriminates against certain hospitals, and raises taxes starting in 2013 on investors, including, but not limited to, a new 3.8% Medicare tax on investment earnings for individuals earning more than $200,000 and households earning more than $250,000 per year. The Associated Press and others have noted that it breaks a number of Obama campaign promises.