Fascinating article over at Reason about how even liberal states are warning the Obama Administration that Obamacare will lead to "rate shock."
The gist? Young people are about to screwed, and screwed good. See, many young people opt for cheaper insurance that has less benefits because they are largely healthy and don't need the same provisions older people do. So while they get less (or, get exactly what they need) they pay less. Not only are young people largely healthy, they also don't make as much because many are just starting in their careers. In short, young people are healthy and don't make as much money, so the market has given them the option of cheaper insurance that covers the basics. Is their room for reform to cover the edges? Sure.
The LA Times (cited in the Reason post):
Insurance regulators in California, which has enthusiastically embraced the law, cautioned the Obama administration in a recent letter about "rate and market disruption."
Oregon's insurance commissioner, another supporter of the law, said new regulations could push up premiums for young customers by as much as 30% next year. He urged administration officials to slow enactment of the new rules.
A leading advocate for consumers in their 20s, Young Invincibles, sounded a similar caution, suggesting in a letter to administration officials that additional steps may be needed to protect young people from rising premiums. Young Invincibles mobilized in 2010 to help pass the healthcare law.
And regulators in Massachusetts, which was the model for Obama's law, recently warned that although many residents and small businesses in the state "will see premium decreases next year, a significant number will see extreme premium increases."
And . . .
The healthcare law also includes a new tax and new fees on insurance companies that the industry says it will pass on to consumers.
The provision that will prevent insurance companies from charging older consumers more than three times what they charge young consumers has generated particular concern among regulators. In many states, insurers now can charge five times as much or more to people in their 50s and 60s.
The requirement was a top priority of the influential AARP. It is designed to make insurance more affordable to a group that often most needs insurance. But as rates come down for older people, they may increase for consumers in their 20s, regulators worry.
If that happens, young, healthy people could elect not to get health insurance and pay the small penalty in the law for not having coverage. That, in turn, would leave an older, sicker population in the insurance pool, a phenomenon that typically inflates premiums.
To avoid so-called rate shock, regulators in California, Oregon, Rhode Island and other states have asked the administration to phase in the new requirement over several years.
So young people are going to be forced to get health insurance they don't need, pay higher premiums they might not be able to afford (they can barely afford them now), or face the wrath of Obama's government through punitive fines if they decide not to engage in this. How is that personal freedom, personal choice? There are plenty of ways our health care system could be improved, plenty of ways for these problems to be solved But instead of finesse and thoughtfulness, Obama and the Dems hammered through a bill based on ideology rather than practicality. And don't forget, the big insurance companies have absolutely zero problem with this. They'll get their money now, and unlike before, they'll have the IRS and the federal government as its enforcers.
Health Care is not something that can be understood, let alone fixed, by the imbeciles in Congress. Health Care isn't one thing. There is vision, dental, personal health, women's health, pharmacy, elderly care, emergency room coverage, and many more. Not all of these are the same and not even the vaunted intellect of Nancy Pelosi can understand all of them, let alone create a comprehensive bill that understands all of the intricacies of this issue. The things that needed to be fixed could have been fixed without all of this.
So keep this in mind the next time we excuse Republicans for bowing to "settled law." There are a lot of terrible things this government has done throughout history that were once considered "settled law," so we shouldn't be afraid to keep fighting. Our system wasn't perfect, but a free and open market-based system of purchasing health care based on your need and means is a much smarter approach that forced purchase based on the standards of those who need the most expensive care. Big business and big government win, the citizens get screwed again. Think I'm crazy? Really?
I'm worried the future of our health care system will essentially be higher and higher premiums to maintain the mandates because younger people will slowly but surely drop out of the government health care, forcing those that remain to pay more and more. Big insurance companies won't care because the IRS will get them their money. Eventually, the government will tell us what is essential and what isn't, leading to a black market of medical clinics.
The irony? Obama's biggest supporters will be screwed the most.