The healthcare premium pattern

Friday, January 18, 2013
Becky Yeh - California correspondent (

To understand whether ObamaCare will actually drive down healthcare costs, a Christian activist says it's important to take a look back at history.

Merrill Matthews and Mark E. Litow warn in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that ObamaCare mandates will drive up the cost of health insurance premiums in individual markets. The two note that in the mid-1990s, eight states -- New Jersey, New York, Maine, New Hampshire, Washington, Kentucky, Vermont and Massachusetts -- required health insurers to accept every applicant and to charge a common premium for those insured. As a result, premiums skyrocketed.

So even though President Obama promised that premiums for a family would be lower after his first term in office, prices are actually now $3,000 higher.

Hebron, Lawrence (Alliance of Christian Patriots)Lawrence Hebron of the Alliance of Christian Patriots tells OneNewsNow the government follows a pattern when it gets involved in health insurance.

"Up until about four years ago, what healthcare stories dominated the news? Well, there were the problems with Medicare, the problems with the veterans healthcare system, and the high cost of insurance," he notes.

"Who runs Medicare? That would be the federal government. Who administers the veterans hospitals and related healthcare? Oh, that's the federal government also. Well, who regulates the healthcare insurance industry and is responsible for the high cost there? Oh, that would be the federal and state governments. Do you see a pattern here?"

Since ObamaCare requires guaranteed issue, community rating, and forces insurance to fund uncovered medical conditions, Matthews warns that premiums will "shoot up" and that "some may even double." Major employers will not see a significant increase, while small businesses will encounter a higher increase. The individual market will be hit the hardest.

States that do have signature ObamaCare mandates typically have higher premiums than states that do not.

Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation. Mark Litow is a retired actuary and past chairman of the Social Insurance Public Finance Section of the Society Actuaries.

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