EDITORIAL: Rising premiums latest shoe to drop for Obamacare

For the Affordable Care Act, the other shoe has dropped so many times that the legislation now needs to grow feet at a prolific pace to keep up. And far from being over, there are many more shoes to drop in the coming months and years, with the latest being significant — and in some cases exorbitant — increases in monthly premiums.

As reported by Scott Gottlieb for Forbes.com, health insurance premiums are showing historically sharp increases, based on a survey earlier this month of 148 brokers in the individual and small group markets. The survey, conducted by Morgan Stanley health care analysts, noted that rates in those two categories accelerated more in the past quarter than in any of the 12 prior quarterly periods in which the survey was conducted.

The average increase exceeds 11 percent in the small group market (employers of 1-100 people) and 12 percent in the individual market, with analysts concluding to Mr. Gottlieb that the “increases are largely due to changes in the ACA.” Not surprisingly, of the four areas noted as primary causes of the increases, one is that Obamacare does not allow insurers to vary premiums between young and old beneficiaries based on the actual costs of providing the coverage.

Eleven to 12 percent is a pretty significant uptick, especially since premiums have been on the rise over the past two years as more of Obamacare’s regulations have been implemented. But in some states, the increases will be far more dramatic. Mr. Gottlieb noted that 10 states will see increases of 28 percent or more for the individual insurance market, including 53 percent in California and a full 100 percent in Delaware. And in the small group market, the 10 states seeing the largest increases include Nevada at 23 percent, California at 37 percent and Washington at a whopping 588 percent.

Like almost everything else with Obamacare, this is not what we were promised. As HotAir.com’s Kevin Glass reminded, in 2009, the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that those in the individual insurance market would see premium increases of 10 to 13 percent — by 2016. The increases of just the past quarter fall into that range, two years ahead of the CBO projection. Furthermore, the CBO estimated ostensibly no increase by 2016 in the small group market, which Mr. Gottlieb’s report thoroughly debunks.

It can’t be said enough that, for all but a limited number of people, Obamacare is massively punitive and getting more so by the day, be it through increased premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, forcing people to lose their current doctors and plans, or the actual tax penalty for not holding an Obamacare-compliant policy. Repeal the law and start over, before it starts raining shoes.