Flight from Congress over ObamaCare’s massive cost hikes?

posted at 12:01 pm on June 13, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

When Congress debated ObamaCare, pressure from critics forced lawmakers to include themselves under its mandates, rather than keep their current “Cadillac plans” that they proposed to tax out of existence for everyone else.  That decision will impact current members starting at the end of this year, as they have to find insurance on the ObamaCare markets just like everyone else.  Now, suddenly, ObamaCare looks a lot less attractive — and some of them may retire to avoid it (via Instapundit, who notes that this is doing what the term-limits movement couldn’t):

Dozens of lawmakers and aides are so afraid that their health insurance premiums will skyrocket next year thanks to Obamacare that they are thinking about retiring early or just quitting.

The fear: Government-subsidized premiums will disappear at the end of the year under a provision in the health care law that nudges aides and lawmakers onto the government health care exchanges, which could make their benefits exorbitantly expensive.

Democratic and Republican leaders are taking the issue seriously, but first they need more specifics from the Office of Personnel Management on how the new rule should take effect — a decision that Capitol Hill sources expect by fall, at the latest. The administration has clammed up in advance of a ruling, sources on both sides of the aisle said. …

The problem is far more acute in the House, where lawmakers and aides are generally younger and less wealthy. Sources said several aides have already given lawmakers notice that they’ll be leaving over concerns about Obamacare. Republican and Democratic lawmakers said the chatter about retiring now, to remain on the current health care plan, is constant.

Oh, the aching irony.  Remember when this was supposed to benefit all Americans?  How it was supposed to make you more secure in your line of work?  “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan”?  Those were promised made by some of the very same people that now want to flee after having their “solution” imposed on the rest of us.

They’re not the only people looking to flee, either.  Doctors want out of the system in both the private and public markets.  The AMA estimates that 17% of physicians are limiting Medicare patients in their practices now, and the number is expected to grow.  More physicians are also bailing out of the private insurance system as well, creating direct-payment businesses that not only lower costs rather than just prices, but also allows the doctor and patient to direct therapy rather than a bean-counter in an office far away.

My column this week for The Fiscal Times picks up on CNN’s report on this phenomenon, and argues that this is the true path for health-care reform:

Nunamaker and the increasing number of providers pursuing this option have to court aggressively a smaller market by competing with each other on price.  Fortunately, with the mandates and reimbursement headaches removed, that becomes much easier to accomplish.  Nunamaker structures his business on a membership model, where a flat monthly fee allows customers unlimited access to his clinic.  For most adults, the fee is $50; senior citizens pay $100, but membership for children costs only $10 per month.

Let’s say that an average family of four, with two adults and two children, sign up for this service.  That would cost $1,440 a year for complete coverage of any services that can be provided within the office.  The least expensive plan on eHealthInsurance.com all-plans for a family of four in Wichita costs $329 a month – and that has a $10,000 deductible. For a deductible of $1500 for the family – the same cost of the membership at Nunamaker’s clinic – the price would jump to $869 per month.

What happens when a patient needs services the clinic doesn’t provide? Nunamaker has created partnerships with providers at costs amounting to fractions of what insurance pays, CNN reports.  A $90 cholesterol test can be purchased for … three dollars. An MRI normally would cost an insurance company $2000, but Nunamaker’s patients can access one for $400.

Obviously, Nunamaker’s patients need hospitalization coverage in case something significant happens.  Normally, catastrophic coverage would be inexpensive, as hospital visits are relatively rare occurrences, especially for younger and healthier people.  Unfortunately, Obamacare outlaws such plans in the ACA “exchanges” by making them ineligible for subsidies.

Instead, Americans buying plans on the individual market have to spend much more than they’ll ever pay directly to market-based physicians like Nunamaker, essentially subsidizing the premiums of older and sicker Americans to make Obamacare politically palatable to those demographics who turn out more reliably to vote.  Americans purchasing plans through employers won’t have much more luck buying sensible insurance plans, either, thanks to other mandates within the ACA on employer-provided health insurance.

Doctors are fleeing ObamaCare, and some of those are showing the way to real reform.  Congress is fleeing the system that they created.  Why should the rest of us get stuck with it?

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In an Army Combat Support Hospital, triage is done by Veteranarians and Pediatricians. They can diagnose by feel and can treat patients who can’t respond to questions.

Mr. Grump on June 13, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Yup. One of my vets was at a M.A.S.H. in Vietnam.

katy the mean old lady on June 13, 2013 at 1:25 PM

but first they need more specifics from the Office of Personnel Management on how the new rule should take effect

Why do they need more specifics, aren’t they the ones who passed this bill, don’t they know what’s in it?

newportmike on June 13, 2013 at 1:25 PM

It is a big sea and we are a small ship, when we the people sink these thugs up on the high priced decks will sink and drown, we on the other hand we have been forced to learn to swim early and we may find a way. These lazy tax trough pigs with snouts grown to long never had to learn the tricks of the streets like all of U.S..

APACHEWHOKNOWS on June 13, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Uh oh. Go check the top of Drudge.

katy the mean old lady on June 13, 2013 at 1:27 PM

30 year deficit

These people have brought us this deficit, and debt and unfunded liabilities, and now they have to leave Congress when they have to pay what the rest of us pay.

oldroy on June 13, 2013 at 1:31 PM

There is no intention whatsoever to do anything but give what is left of our country away. And the rats who can’t even pay for their own healthcare are responsible for it.

Let it burn. As soon as possible. So that those responsible will have to at least share in the consequences before they take up residence in Switzerland or Zimbabwe.

oldroy on June 13, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Uh oh. Go check the top of Drudge.

katy the mean old lady on June 13, 2013 at 1:27 PM

LOL – 1,500 comments if Hot Gas writes a blog about it!

22044 on June 13, 2013 at 1:34 PM

They’ll just exempt themselves somehow…it’ll have to be quiet and late on a Friday evening.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 13, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Uh oh. Go check the top of Drudge.

katy the mean old lady on June 13, 2013 at 1:27 PM

LOL – 1,500 comments if Hot Gas writes a blog about it!

22044 on June 13, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Hardest hit…Katie Couric

workingclass artist on June 13, 2013 at 1:42 PM

LOL – 1,500 comments if Hot Gas writes a blog about it!

22044 on June 13, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Good times! Somewhere a trashfish just threw up some stale danish.

katy the mean old lady on June 13, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Evidently, Fox News is in need of ratings.

kingsjester on June 13, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Congress is fleeing the system that they created.

Guess you have to feel the bill to care what’s in it.

Barnestormer on June 13, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Good. we need more turnover in DC. both the congressman themselves and their liberal staffs.

at least one good thing has come because of Obamacare.

gerrym51 on June 13, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Signs above the exit doors of the House and Senate chambers should read:

“Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish.”

viking01 on June 13, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Democratic and Republican leaders are taking the issue seriously, but first they need more specifics from the Office of Personnel Management on how the new rule should take effect — a decision that Capitol Hill sources expect by fall, at the latest. The administration has clammed up in advance of a ruling, sources on both sides of the aisle said. …

They wrote the damn bill and passed it into law and they still don’t know what’s in it or how it works???

RJL on June 13, 2013 at 3:52 PM

They are going to exempt themselves. They won’t call it that.. or they’ll figure out a way to do it secretly. Like saying they haven’t.. that they all pay the same.. but then they’ll get some kind of bonus every year or something that somehow equals their premiums.
But they are going to do it somehow.

JellyToast on June 13, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Signs above the exit doors of the House and Senate chambers should read:

“Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish.”

viking01 on June 13, 2013 at 3:22 PM

“Don’t let the door hit ya…”

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 13, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Let’s thank Charles Grassley (R) Iowa, for putting this amendment into the so-called ACA. The supposition is he did this to prevent the vote, to force senators and congresspersons to think before they pulled the trigger. Turns out he gave them too much credit for thinking.

Now, when it affects them, they’re thinking about it. They’re thinking about under the same conditions as all of us because it affects them directly.

I don’t think they’ll amend the ACA, because if that happens, it’s a major firestorm, and it brings the entire act open for change. Instead they’re going to melt into the background and probably leave.

Oh, the irony.

itsspideyman on June 13, 2013 at 5:07 PM

WHOA!!!!

Republican and Democratic lawmakers said the chatter about retiring now, to remain on the current health care plan, is constant.

Who decided that Congressional retirees get to remain on the current health care plan????

As soon as the Congressional retirements are complete, the next Congress needs to convert the Congressional Retiree Health Plan to ObamaCare.

Then the new Congress can get to work on repealing ObamaCare for the rest of the American People.

wren on June 13, 2013 at 5:17 PM

My guess is these “membership” plans will not be “approved” under the ACA, so members will have to pay the fine on top of their membership fee. BUT since ACA has that little “Pre existing” tidbit … If something major comes up …

Whiterock on June 13, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Corruption.

TX-96 on June 14, 2013 at 6:08 AM

Not to worry, I’m sure some fix is in for them. Youse guys know a fix when you see it, doncha.

Kissmygrits on June 14, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Maybe, just maybe, they should have READ the bill to find out what’s in it, rather than PASSING the bill to find out what’s in it.

jaydee_007 on June 14, 2013 at 9:37 AM

All this was obvious when they passed the bill. Why is it suddenly a surprise to everyone? When something is this bad the obvious solution is to repeal it but I don’t see that happening yet.

duff65 on June 14, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Why? Because they knew they could fix it later, when we weren’t looking.

PattyJ on June 14, 2013 at 10:37 PM

Comment pages: 1 2