I get tired of writing “no surprise here.”
But—no surprise here:
Health industry officials say ObamaCare-related premiums will double in some parts of the country, countering claims recently made by the administration.
The expected rate hikes will be announced in the coming months amid an intense election year, when control of the Senate is up for grabs. The sticker shock would likely bolster the GOP’s prospects in November and hamper ObamaCare insurance enrollment efforts in 2015.
The industry complaints come less than a week after Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to downplay concerns about rising premiums in the healthcare sector. She told lawmakers rates would increase in 2015 but grow more slowly than in the past.
“The increases are far less significant than what they were prior to the Affordable Care Act,” the secretary said in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee.
Her comment baffled insurance officials, who said it runs counter to the industry’s consensus about next year.
“It’s pretty shortsighted because I think everybody knows that the way the exchange has rolled out … is going to lead to higher costs,” said one senior insurance executive who requested anonymity.
The insurance official, who hails from a populous swing state, said his company expects to triple its rates next year on the ObamaCare exchange.
Next year’s probable rate hikes will be announced right before the election—unless Obama finds a way to either (a) postpone that little habit of the insurance companies; or (2) give them enough bailout (risk corridor) money on the side in exchange for a promise not to raise rates; or (3) raise the subsidies so that no one really will be paying the actual rates except the very, very rich (which somewhat amounts to the same thing as #2, just through a different route).
I suppose if he’s done what he’s already done, he can do that, too. Who’s going to stop him?
And it’s pretty certain that, say whatever the increase is, they will claim it’s less than what would have occurred without Obamacare, whether it’s true or not.
Sebelius’ role is clear, too. She’s a good apparatchik who will say whatever is needed, however preposterous, to placate the public for as long as possible. Why “insurance officials” should be “baffled” about any of it baffles me, quite frankly—if they’re even really baffled at all.