Florida premiums to jump 13% for 2015
posted at 10:01 am on August 5, 2014 by Ed Morrissey
Remember when Barack Obama promised to bend cost curves downward with ObamaCare? Later, that pledge morphed into a claim that premiums wouldn’t go up as much as they did in the past; last month, it changed to a disclaimer that premiums wouldn’t go up any more sharply than without ObamaCare. Tell that to Floridians, who face double-digit premium increases when open enrollment starts this fall:
Floridians who buy health insurance on the individual market for next year will face an average increase of 13.2 percent in their monthly premiums, according to rate proposals unveiled Monday by the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation. …
Fourteen companies filed ACA-compliant plans for Florida’s 2015 individual market, including three new companies that did not participate on the federally-run exchange last year.
Of the 11 returning plans, eight filed average rate increases ranging from 11 to 23 percent, and three filed rate decreases ranging from 5 to 12 percent, the state’s insurance regulator reported.
Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who is campaigning for reelection, seized on the report to criticize his Democratic challenger, Charlie Crist, and the ACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare.
“Obamacare is a bad law that just seems to be getting worse,’’ Scott said in a written statement. “Florida families are going to be slammed with higher costs.’’
HHS objected to the OIR’s report, claiming that it didn’t take into account the subsidies that taxpayers would use to pay insurers. That would reduce the bill for the average taxpayer to $50 a month, HHS said, but that’s a non-sequitur. The premiums are still skyrocketing in Year 2 for ObamaCare regardless of who pays the bill. And by the way, federal subsidies get paid by taxpayers in the end anyway; it’s just a sleight of hand to take the money from taxpayers on one hand and give them back in the other hand.
Don’t forget that one of the supposed reasons that Congress had to overhaul and take control of the health-insurance industry wasn’t the uninsured, but cost control. We could have expanded Medicaid to cover those uninsured not by choice at much less cost and intrusiveness. Democrats insisted that escalating health-care costs also had to be addressed, including the cost of health insurance. So far, ObamaCare has made that worse rather than better, while still leaving tens of millions uninsured.
By the way, do readers also recall how ObamaCare advocates gave credit for a slowdown in escalating health-care costs to the new law? Never mind:
Some of the best news for health care in a while is also driving one of its biggest debates — what exactly is behind the historic slowdown in health-care spending these past few years. Just how much credit should be given to structural changes in the health-care system versus the effects of the Great Recession? The answer has major fiscal implications for the country’s future as the economy improves and millions more gain health insurance under the 2010 health-care law.
Previous research has tried to answer this question, but a new study finds that the recession gets most of the credit for the recent slowdown in the growth of health-care spending, suggesting that an improving economy could accelerate health spending once again.
After the annual growth rate for health care spending averaged 6.6 percent between 2000 and 2007, it shrank to just 3.3 percent each year between 2008 and 2011, according to the authors’ analysis of federal data. During those three years, the slumping economy accounted for 70 percent of the spending slowdown, according to a new peer-reviewed study from Northwestern University economists published in today’s Health Affairs journal. A separate working paper released Monday from the Brookings Institution also argues the slowdown is largely the result of the two previous recessions.
If it’s any consolation to ObamaCare advocates, the law will almost certainly suppress economic activity, business expansion, and job creation over the long haul, so the recessionary effects aren’t likely to dissipate quickly.
Update: I wrote Medicare when I meant Medicaid; I’ve corrected it above.
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