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Federal health care law proving to be affordable in name only

Oklahoman Published: March 23, 2014

OBAMACARE supporters claim subsidies provided under the law will help offset the higher insurance prices caused by the same law. This may be a triumph of wishful thinking over serious analysis.

According to The Hill, a newspaper covering congressional activity, Obamacare-related premiums could double in some parts of the country next year. Rate increases would vary significantly from one part of the country to another. But insurance officials interviewed by the newspaper said the surge in health insurance prices will be driven primarily by Obamacare’s mandates, the negative impact of the administration’s ad hoc rewriting of the law, and the fact that enrollment in Obamacare exchanges has fallen short of projections and has been skewed toward more expensive patients.

Dramatic rate increases will come in 2015. They will be on top of increases already underway due to Obamacare. According to eHealthInsurance, individual premiums have increased 39 percent since February 2013. The average individual premium is now $274 a month. Family policies have increased by 56 percent. Average premiums are now $663 per family each month.

Prior to passage of Obamacare, family policy premiums were increasing an average of 31 percent a year. Thanks to Obamacare, policyholders may come to think of those previously dramatic price increases as the good ol’ days.

Obamacare’s backers will argue that subsidies provided by the law ensure that many citizens will pay far less than the actual sticker price. But if rates double and continue to skyrocket, it’s virtually certain that many families qualifying for subsidies will still pay more out of pocket than they would have prior to the law’s enactment. And individuals accepting Obamacare subsidies could come to regret it.

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by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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