American Elephants


“Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave, When First We Practice to Deceive.” by The Elephant's Child

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before the Hour Committee on Ways and Means about the White House’s 2015 budget proposal. To no one’s surprise, Ms. Sebelius was peppered with questions about the impact of the Affordable Care Act and its effect on insurance rates.

“I think premiums are likely to go up, but at a smaller pace than what we’ve seen since 2010,” Mrs. Sebelius said, adding that she thought the likely increases would be less significant than they had been in the years before the federal health-care law was enacted.

You are not going to see any Democrat admitting any time soon that the cost of health care had been declining for a number of years. New life-saving drugs, new diagnostic techniques, more people taking better care of themselves have made a difference. The mantra about the terrible escalating cost of health care being a reason for ObamaCare was always hype.

You already have people complaining that they simply cannot afford the premiums for ObamaCare. At a town hall for Spanish-language media recently, Obama was challenged by a viewer on the economics of it for low-income Americans who are now forced to buy comprehensive health insurance. On a $36.000 annual income, the requirement to buy the broad policy rather than hospitalization coverage combined with a Health Savings Account — which is now illegal, makes it impossible to comply.

The President replied smugly, “if you looked at their cable bill, their telephone, their cell-phone bill — it may turn out that they just haven’t prioritized health care.” He added that if a family member gets sick, the father “will wish he had paid that $300 a month.”

According to the National Center for Public Policy Research, the health care law is reducing choice and increasing premiums.  Consumers are paying an average of 39% more than they did before the law was implemented.

Liberals just don’t get basic economics. Regulations imposed by the government have a cost of compliance. Whether it is retrofitting a process or installing new equipment, or just all the people who must be hired to deal with the government paperwork, bureaucrats seldom have any understanding of the costs involved in complying. When liberals want to make their health care policies more attractive by including benefits that are not customarily part of a health care policy — it makes the policies cost more. Whether it is free contraceptive pills, or including childbirth  and well-child visits in all policies for all ages, it raises the cost of the policies dramatically. And of course there is the cost of the vast government bureaucracy to administer the whole thing.

Sowell

The federal government is so desperate to get healthy young people to sign up that they are waiving the individual mandate — the detail that was supposed to make the whole thing work. Not only that, they are offering all  sorts of ways to avoid being fined or penalized — “hardship cases” loosely enforced. Just please, please sign up, and we’ll revise the law to make it work.

The whole thing is based on guesswork. The proportion of young Americans signing up for coverage through state and federal exchanges has remained below levels thought necessary to keep premiums stable. The administration said 4.2 million people enrolled in health-insurance plans but it doesn’t count unless they have paid up. That is far below the 6 to 7 million the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected would sign up.

Next year’s premiums are not set by the government, but by the insurance companies, who don’t really know what costs they have to base their premiums on. Oh well, if it doesn’t work, Obama will just issue some more executive orders. Laws are no longer fixed, but — fluid. Just keep delaying the bad stuff so nobody will know how it will work — until after the election.




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