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#ObamaCare Update: premium increases, paperwork troubles, competition lowers prices, Congress exempt from own rules

From a recent NCPA Washington Update:

As the implementation of Obamacare moves forward, more people are buying insurance and many of the early problems that plagued the website seem solved. But public approval ratings remain dismal. Maybe it is the complex labyrinth of paperwork. Or the rising cost of premiums. Many businesses are still coping with the effects of the new health care law, while many individuals are still trying to send the right documents to the government.

It turns out that health insurance premiums tend to be more affordable in states with more competition among insurance companies. That is a predictable outcome based on what we learned in Econ 101. Another predictable conclusion: Congress will always try to play by their own rules. You may remember that the Obama Administration exempted Congress from a provision in the law that requires members of Congress and their staff to purchase health insurance in the Obamacare exchange without a taxpayer subsidy. That’s why Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and other Republicans opposed the exemption. Now there are a group of Democrats who are introducing legislation that would require Congress to play by the same rules as everyone else. Just in time for the election.

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Filed under insurance, tax code, HSAs, Policy - National

“You can keep your health insurance…if you BEG hard enough for an Obamacare waiver.”

That’s Michelle Malkin on ObamaCare (HR 3590), in her post titled “Obamacare waivers: Torquemada Sebelius spares McDonald’s, unions.”

(via Ari Armstrong.)

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Congress & gov’t employees would be exempt from new insurance mandates

Update: see my March 25, 2010 post, Who’s exempt from new insurance mandates?

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Quoting Donald Boudreaux
: “Lies.  Special privileges. Par for the course.”

From the Wall Street Journal:

Last September Sen. Barack Obama promised that under his health-care proposal “you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves.” On Monday, President Obama repeated that promise in a speech to the American Medical Association. It’s not true.

The president is barnstorming the nation, urging swift approval of legislation that is taking shape in Congress. This legislation — the Affordable Health Choices Act that’s being drafted by Sen. Edward Kennedy’s staff and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee — will push Americans into stingy insurance plans with tight, HMO-style controls. It specifically exempts members of Congress (along with federal employees; the exemptions are in section 3116).

Members of Congress “enjoy the widest selection of health plans in the country,” according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. They “can choose from among consumer-driven and high deductible plans that offer catastrophic risk protection with higher deductibles, health saving/reimbursable accounts and lower premiums, or fee-for-service (FFS) plans, and their preferred provider organizations (PPO), or health maintenance organizations (HMO).” These choices would be nice for all of us, but they’re not in the offing. Instead, if you don’t enroll in a “qualified” health plan and submit proof of enrollment to the federal government, you’ll be tracked down and fined (sections 3101 and 6055).

For a health plan to count as “qualified,” it has to meet all the restrictions listed in the legislation and whatever criteria the Secretary of Health and Human Services imposes after the bill becomes law. You may think you’re in a “qualified” plan, but the language suggests that only plans with managed-care controls such as the “medical home” will meet the definition.

Read the rest here.

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Filed under Policy - National