Peter Suderman at Reason writes about a Wisconsin group charged with studying ObamaCare, in order to sell its virtues to the public. They found out that President Obama’s signature accomplishment will raise health insurance costs pretty much across the board.
When Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services, which manages health programs within the state, wanted to get a better sense of how last year’s health care overhaul would affect insurance coverage within the state, they turned to Jonathan Gruber, a health policy expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who served as a consultant on both Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health care overhaul and (somewhat controversially) President Obama’s nationwide successor program.
The report Doyle ordered before leaving office certainly reveals something about how the law will affect hundreds of thousands of individuals in the state he used to govern, it’s not all flattering. Indeed, it’s telling that despite bring ordered and authored by true-blue ObamaCare backers, a big part of what this report suggests is that the law will ultimately raise the health insurance costs for large numbers of the state’s residents.
Naturally, Gruber’s leads with a smiley face, noting for the umpteenth time that the law is expected to increase health insurance coverage; approximately 340,000 of the state’s residents are expected to gain insurance coverage by 2016. Of course, about 170,000 of the newly covered will be shuffled into Medicaid, a program that’s wrecking state budgets and providing, at best, uncertain health benefits.
Meanwhile expanding the state’s health insurance coverage will come at a significant cost to hundreds of thousands of individuals, especially within the individual market, where the law has the greatest effect. Gruber projects that the average individual market health insurance premium will cost about 30 percent more than if ObamaCare had never passed. For most individual market enrollees, the average premium increase will be even higher: 87 percent of the individual market is projected to see a premium price increase of 41 percent.
The point of ObamaCare was, supposedly, to broaden coverage and reduce costs. According to Gruber’s report, it achieves the first in a shaky (and probably unconstitutional) way but comes nowhere near achieving the latter. But raising costs as much as 41 percent will end up pricing some people out of the market. Heritage estimates that 14 million Americans will end up losing their health care coverage this way. At the same time, ObamaCare’s impact on Medicare will increase costs to the states, whose budgets are already strained by the recession. The point of all turmoil is to create conditions for the introduction of a single payer system, at least if you believe anything Barack Obama says.