After the polls showed that the newly-passed ObamaCare bill remained deeply unpopular with voters, the Obama administration reshuffled the rollout in order to convince Americans what a great deal they would get. By “front-loading” the most popular provisions to make them effective immediately, the White House hoped that the momentum would shift to support for the one legislative achievement of Barack Obama’s turn — or at least neutralize its negative influence. Instead, ObamaCare remains as unpopular as ever, and the bill will come due just before the midterms:
Health insurers say they plan to raise premiums for some Americans as a direct result of the health overhaul in coming weeks, complicating Democrats’ efforts to trumpet their signature achievement before the midterm elections.
Aetna Inc., some BlueCross BlueShield plans and other smaller carriers have asked for premium increases of between 1% and 9% to pay for extra benefits required under the law, according to filings with state regulators.
These and other insurers say Congress’s landmark refashioning of U.S. health coverage, which passed in March after a brutal fight, is causing them to pass on more costs to consumers than Democrats predicted.
There is more than a little irony involved:
In addition to pledging that the law would restrain increases in Americans’ insurance premiums, Democrats front-loaded the legislation with early provisions they hoped would boost public support. Those include letting children stay on their parents’ insurance policies until age 26, eliminating co-payments for preventive care and barring insurers from denying policies to children with pre-existing conditions, plus the elimination of the coverage caps.
Weeks before the election, insurance companies began telling state regulators it is those very provisions that are forcing them to increase their rates.
And even more irony: these premium hikes will hit individual and small-group plans hardest. The ObamaCare bill was supposed to make it easier on individual policy holders, not tougher. Instead, they’ll pay the biggest cost in the short term.
The White House has already accused these insurers of unfair pricing, but that just proves that the administration didn’t understand the industry they wanted to run themselves. Front-loading new benefit mandates means higher costs for insurers. Insurers pass higher costs to consumers in premium increases. If there were no costs associated with these new benefit mandates, they wouldn’t have had to been mandated in the first place. This is Econ 101, and yet no one in the Obama administration appeared to have realized what “front-loading” new benefits would mean.
Democrats have tried pleading that ObamaCare will eventually lower costs for everyone while giving more benefits to everyone, an empty promise that will get exposed much sooner than they anticipated, thanks to the Obama administration. Small wonder most of them have stopped talking about ObamaCare on the campaign trail.