Monday, February 04, 2013

ObamaCare: Two Ominous Signs

In the last few days, there have been two ominous signs about our future under ObamaCare. Both suggest the term "ObamaCare" is more accurate than the more-often used term "Affordable Care Act," because both suggest that the term "affordable" is strongly out of place.

1. The first is from Merrill Matthews, "The Most Ominous Sign Yet: Health Insurance Premiums Will Explode,", January 30. Matthews writes:

"Most health insurers in the individual market have stopped guaranteeing a person's premiums for a year. And as one commentator quipped: they aren't doing it because they expect to be lowering people's premiums.

Traditionally in the individual market, where people buy their own (i.e., non-group) health coverage, applicants sign a contract and the insurance company guarantees that premium for a year. I'm told that about 12 percent of individual applicants would write a check for the year's premium, rather than being billed monthly.

No more. Health insurers started sending out notices in January informing insurance brokers and agents that the companies will no longer guarantee that premium rate. From now on it's month to month."

2. The second is from the IRS's own proposed regulations. In laying out some examples of what kinds of penalties (even the IRS, interestingly, despite Judge John Roberts' claim that the penalty is a tax, doesn't call the penalty a tax) people will pay for not buying insurance, the IRS gives some hypothetical numbers for the cost of an insurance policy. In my experience, the IRS tends to come up with numbers that would apply relatively widely. So, in estimating the cost of a "bronze" health insurance policy that would satisfy the government's criteria (bronze is the lowest level of coverage allowed), what estimate does the IRS use for the cost for a family of five? The answer I found on page 70: $20,000. ["Affordable"?]


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