Editorial: ObamaCare costs keep soaring

Premiums for ObamaCare-eligible health insurance plans are soaring this year, according to an analysis by the Urban Institute.

The study, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found that the lowest priced of the so-called gold plans that cover 80 percent of medical expenses for a 40-year-old non-smoker increased 19 percent nationally this year and 25 percent in Nevada. The lowest cost silver plans for that individual, which covers 70 percent of medical costs, went up 32 percent nationally and 45.6 percent in Nevada. The second lowest priced silver plans jumped 34.3 percent nationally and 48.3 percent in Nevada.

But not to worry, the Nevada Appeal newspaper in Carson City reports that more than 85 percent of the nearly 100,000 Nevadans who are covered by such plans through the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange will not pay much if any of that premium increase because they receive federal subsidies. Guess who pays those federal subsidies? All of us.

The Appeal reports that, according to a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office, the nationwide increase in premiums will cost the taxpayers $10 billion more in subsidies this year.

Of course, a state health exchange executive blamed the premium spikes on “instability in the health insurance market — much of it caused by tactics designed to undermine the Affordable Care Act. That includes the decision to stop paying insurance companies for the Cost Sharing Reduction subsidies mandated by the ACA for consumers making between 138 and 250 percent of the poverty level,” the Appeal explained.

The taxpayers get stuck with the bill either way — subsidize the insurer or subsidize the rate payer. Six of one, a half dozen of the other.

During the debate this past year over those Cost Sharing Reduction subsidies, The Wall Street Journal reported, “In an ironic twist, stopping the subsidies would also wind up costing the federal government more in the end, the (Congressional Budget Office) report said. Higher premiums for mid-priced plans would require the government to pay larger tax credits to consumers to help offset coverage costs. The federal deficit would increase by $194 billion through 2026, the report said.” Instead of paying $7 billion in subsidies to insurers, we are paying $10 billion to ratepayers.

Pay no heed to the fact ObamaCare premiums have been rising sharply since the law was passed in 2010 without a single Republican vote and using dirty tricks devised by Nevada’s own Sen. Harry Reid. According to the website eHealth, from 2013, the year before ObamaCare went into effect, through 2017, health insurance premiums had already increased 140 percent. Forget repeal and replace, just repeal. Remember at the ballot box this fall just who brought us this expensive boondoggle and would vote to keep it.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

34 comments on “Editorial: ObamaCare costs keep soaring

  1. Rincon says:

    https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/NationalHealthAccountsHistorical.html
    Health Care Costs by Year
    Year National Health Spending (Billions) Percent Growth Cost Per Person Event
    1960 $27.2 NA $146 Recession
    1961 $29.1 7.1% $154 Recession ended
    1962 $31.8 9.3% $166
    1963 $34.6 8.6% $178
    1964 $38.4 11.0% $194 LBJ started Medicare and Medicaid
    1965 $41.9 9.0% $209
    1966 $46.1 10.1% $228 Vietnam War
    1967 $51.6 11.9% $253
    1968 $58.4 13.3% $284
    1969 $65.9 12.9% $318
    1970 $74.6 13.1% $355 Recession
    1971 $82.7 11.0% $389 Wage-price controls
    1972 $92.7 12.0% $431 Stagflation
    1973 $102.8 11.0% $474 Gold standard ended. HMO Act
    1974 $116.5 13.4% $534 ERISA. Wage-price controls ended.
    1975 $133.3 14.4% $605 Inflation at 6.9%
    1976 $152.7 14.6% $688 Inflation at 4.9%
    1977 $173.9 13.8% $777 Inflation at 6.7%
    1978 $195.3 12.4% $865 Inflation at 9.0%
    1979 $221.5 13.4% $971 Inflation at 13.3%
    1980 $255.3 15.3% $1,108 Inflation at 12.5%
    1981 $296.2 16.0% $1,273 Fed raised rates
    1982 $334.0 12.8% $1,422 Recession ended
    1983 $367.8 10.1% $1,550 Tax hike and defense spending
    1984 $405.0 10.1% $1,692
    1985 $442.9 9.4% $1,833
    1986 $474.7 7.2% $1,947 Tax cut
    1987 $516.5 8.8% $2,099 Black Monday
    1988 $579.3 12.2% $2,332 Fed raised rate
    1989 $644.8 11.3% $2,571 S&L crisis
    1990 $721.4 11.9% $2,843 Recession
    1991 $788.1 9.2% $3,070 Recession
    1992 $854.1 8.4% $3,287
    1993 $916.6 7.3% $3,487 HMOs
    1994 $967.2 5.5% $3,641
    1995 $1,021.6 5.6% $3,806 Fed raised rate
    1996 $1,074.4 5.2% $3,964 Welfare reform
    1997 $1,135.5 5.7% $4,147 Balanced Budget Act
    1998 $1,202.0 5.8% $4,345 LTCM crisis
    1999 $1,278.3 6.4% $4,576 BBRA
    2000 $1,369.7 7.1% $4,857 BIPA
    2001 $1,486.8 8.5% $5,220 9/11 attacks
    2002 $1,629.2 9.6% $5,668 War on Terror
    2003 $1,768.2 8.5% $6,098 Medicare Modernization Act
    2004 $1,896.3 7.2% $6,481
    2005 $2,024.2 6.7% $6,855 Bankruptcy Act
    2006 $2,156.5 6.5% $7,233
    2007 $2,295.7 6.5% $7,628
    2008 $2,399.1 4.5% $7,897 Recession slowed spending.
    2009 $​2,495.4 4.0% $8,143
    2010 $2,598.8 4.1% $8,412 ACA signed.
    2011 $2,689.3 3.5% $8,644 Debt crisis
    2012 $2,797.3 4.0% $8,924 Fiscal cliff
    2013 $2,879.0 2.9% $9,121 ACA taxes
    2014 $3,026.2 5.1% $9,515 Exchanges opened.
    2015 $3,200.8 5.8% $9,994
    2016 $3,337.2 4.3% $10,348

    (Source: “National Health Expenditures Summary Including Share of GDP, CY 1960-2016,” Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “Inflation Rate by Year,” The Balance. “History of Health Spending in the United States, 1960-2013,” Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, November 19, 2015. “U.S. Health Care Spending: Who Pays?” California Health Care Foundation, December 2015.)

  2. Rincon says:

    Sorry, my computer suffered a seizure, so I had to exit before I could comment. This source, which seems reliable, suggests that, at least through 2016, health care costs have increased more slowly under Obamacare than beforehand. Since health care takes up about 17.5% of GDP and took up about 15-17% several years ago, it seems to pass the stink test. The implication that health care costs suddenly rocketed up by 20-30% in a single year does not. Funny how medical cost increases were formerly termed medical cost increases, while now, they are termed Obamacare cost increases, as if the medical cartel in this country has nothing to do with it. So much for unbiased treatment.

    One partial explanation of the discrepancy is that Obamacare paid for my colonoscopy. I had 2 polyps removed; might have saved my life.In theory, better routine care should save money in the long run, but Conservatives, much like big business, doesn’t look beyond the next year or two.

    I would certainly agree that Obamacare did little to address the increasing costs of health care, so there’s no reason to expect any radical change in either an up or down direction. We’ve had socialized health care since before any of us were born. It’s just that our socialized health care system has been disorganized, while that of many other countries is organized.

  3. Premiums for ObamaCare-eligible health insurance plans …

  4. Barbara says:

    This is just one of the reasons I will not vote to re-elect Dean Heller. He voted against repeal of the ACA.

  5. Rincon says:

    While everyone focuses on Obamacare, the medical cartel just keeps merrily jacking up their fees and we keep arguing about how we should pay for it instead of about why the bill is so high in the first place.

    For example…I believe it’s common knowledge that prescription drugs are much cheaper in many foreign countries than in the U.S. It would appear that competition keeps prices low. Somehow though, this competitive pressure just doesn’t seem to exist in the states. Nope, we just keep paying the bills and blame Obama for everything that’s wrong with the world. Conservatives have the most incurable form of blindness – the willful kind.

    Of course, any sane person would be glad to dump Obamacare in an instant and replace it with a system proven to work well – for example, that of almost any other advanced country. Practically all of them live longer than we do (also have less neonatal mortality) and pay far less for their health care. In the ’90’s, I would have considered some kind of alternative capitalism based health care system, but conservatives proved themselves too mean spirited at that time when they managed to torpedo health care reform of any kind, insuring successfully that we suffer with a truly inferior health care system. 25 years have gone by and I now find myself uninterested in exploring the suggestions of a group so egregiously callous. And they have the gall to ask why we are so divided as a country.

  6. Steve says:

    Rincon, you are a true meme believer, you need the police.

    “To get a glimpse of how a market system would function, look at the Surgery Center of Oklahoma. They post the prices of all their procedures right on their website, check out the link below. They also don’t take any form of insurance, so what you see is what you pay. Their procedures are dramatically lower than what other hospitals charge, as they are operating in a market system. For example, their price for a hip replacement is $15,499, cheaper than the UK. And you’ll get in right away, no getting put on a waiting list.”

    Read more

  7. Rincon says:

    Conservatives have prevented us from reforming health care for decades. You and your brethren have consistently defended the system that, as you say, is “warped from any rational market system”. As soon as Obama’s name was put on it though, you and your brethren are now highly critical, even though it’s the same ridiculous system with only minor modifications. Good, At least now we finally agree that the US health care system needs a complete overhaul. Glad you came around.

  8. Steve says:

    Left and right have been trying to get reforms to healthcare for decades.

    Its just too bad the left insists on increasing the problems and taking them over with the heavy hand of government when good examples of market driven solutions are in full operation today Surgery Center of Oklahoma is one.

    But you peeps insist on more bureaucracy and less market in hopes more of the same problems will fix the same problems…doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome is defined as……

  9. Rincon says:

    Our health care system began as a purely capitalistic endeavor. Slowly, as it became apparent that paying cash for Doc’s services was bankrupting too many people, insurance came along (a socialized form of so called capitalism, except run by a company instead of a government). Soon, paying insurance premiums became unaffordable for many, especially the young (and usually healthy), so many just didn’t carry insurance. The answer Conservatives supported was to treat those without insurance anyway, and let the other sick people pay for all of the unpaid bills generated. Many young, healthy people paid nothing at all. Then Obamacare came along; essentially a little lipstick on the same old pig. At least with Obama’s name on it, you’ve finally stopped defending this insane system.

    So tell me, Steve, in your utopian capitalistic plan, just who is supposed to pay for the 95 year old with Alzheimer’s and kidney failure? I know it won’t be private insurance because they routinely raise premiums to stratospheric levels and then deny coverage when the sucker…er, insured can’t afford to pay them.

  10. Steve says:

    “Slowly, as it became apparent that paying cash for Doc’s services was bankrupting too many people”

    RAWNG!!!

    Employer sponsored insurance was a direct response by business to keep valued employees. You conveniently ignore or intentionally try to sideline, the very fact it was government interference in the first place that caused medical prices to skyrocket for those without an employer covering them.
    I refer you, again, to the link I provided…and the Surgery Center of Oklahoma example.

    And every conclusion you base on your meme driven lie is false.

  11. Rincon says:

    Did I say employer sponsored insurance? Of course not. Health insurance existed long before employers got involved in any significant way. Whether employers or individuals pay for it is irrelevant. What’s relevant is that people (or employers) buy insurance for unexpected occurrences which they could not afford. I believe health insurance was uncommon say, before 1900, partly because medical services generally available weren’t terribly expensive. Those who couldn’t afford expensive care often just didn’t receive it. As care became more advanced and expensive, private enterprise saw that although many could not afford an extended hospital stay, etc., they could afford insurance premiums; hence, health insurance.

    As costs continued to escalate far faster than inflation, we have come to the point where many can’t even afford premiums. I’m not sure what the Conservative answer is. They seem incapable of forwarding an alternative system in any but the vaguest terms.

    I notice that you chose not to suggest who would pay for the treatment for my example of a 95 year old with Alzheimer’s and kidney failure. Cat got your tongue? Conservative theories sound great until you examine the nitty gritty of the real world.

  12. Employer based insurance largely grew as a result of WWII wage controls. Since they could not attract best workers with higher wages, they started offering benefits.

  13. Steve says:

    The twisted prices we have today are a direct result of the wage controls. Prior to that, health insurance was not a major sector. It was almost unheard of. After all, why pay someone to pay for your healthcare when it was so easy to find and afford medical services available at the time?

    And you still insist on ignoring the link and the very clear example it provides for market driven health care.

    Must really undermine your meme based belief structure, Rincon.

  14. Rincon says:

    True, Thomas. The decision to allow company-provided health insurance to be exempt from income tax has cost this nation enormously as did the cowardice of a Congress that refused to eliminate it. As I said though, whether employers or individuals paid for health insurance in the beginning is irrelevant to my contention that insurance was a response to the unpredictability and growing expense of major health care. Even in the 1950’s a major medical crisis was often very costly. Health insurance was a valuable commodity, and would have been more common earlier if not for the Great Depression and World War II.

    BTW, Between 1910 and 1915, 32 states enacted workers’ compensation insurance but health insurance predates this: “However, to assume that no private health insurance existed during this period would be a mistake. In fascinating historical research, John Murray (2007) argues that “sickness funds” had existed at least from the time of the Civil War. These funds were established by employers, unions, and
    fraternal organizations. Workers made weekly contributions of about one percent of their wages to the fund…” “Prepaid group practice was the forerunner of managed care. Similar to Blue
    Cross, these plans began in 1929 in response to the Great Depression.” “The development of Blue Shield plans mirrors that of Blue Cross. The first medical service plan, analogous to the hospital services plans, was the California Physicians’ Service, established in 1939.”
    https://www.ache.org/pubs/Morrisey2253_Chapter_1.pdf

    Even if we cannot agree on that, we can agree that a major health issue can be potentially devastating to a large fraction of our population, so that insurance in some form is a necessity (OK Steve, I know nothing is a necessity except food, water, and shelter, so I’ll call it extremely advisable) for all but the very well to do.

    For the third time, in their proposed health care system, who do Conservatives say should pay the medical bills of our 95 year old with Alzheimer’s and kidney failure?

  15. Have conservatives proposed a health care system?

  16. Steve says:

    4 the 4th time…you insist on ignoring the link.

  17. Rincon says:

    Thank you, Thomas, for seeing my point.

    If you’re referring to your Facebook link,Steve, I didn’t ignore it. I couldn’t access it. I’ll be quite happy to look it over if you can direct me to it in some other way. That still doesn’t explain why you’re afraid to discuss my 95 year old.

  18. Steve says:

    BS, I can access it from multiple platforms, logged into FB or not and the FB post is public and open to all. On or off their service.

    Moreover, you were able to cherry pick things from it!

    What a laughable response. Thanks for chuckle.

  19. Steve says:

    Sadly, and nevertheless…here you go Mr. Magoo.

    https://surgerycenterok.com/

  20. Steve says:

    And here’s the other one you “can’t access”

    http://truecostofhealthcare.org/hospitalization/

  21. Rincon says:

    I’ll try to look past your insults, but I don’t know why I bother. Since you don’t clearly specify your position (and STILL ignore my 95 year old patient), I’m left to guess. All I can see is that you and I agree that the present system is ridiculous. If so, that represents progress. It appears to say nothing about some possible alternative. If I’ve misinterpreted, then either ignore this or correct me, but any further insults will be met with silence.

  22. Steve says:

    “All I can see is that you and I agree that the present system is ridiculous”

    Been saying that since the start. Also been saying the left’s proposals are more of the same, on steroids.

    I had zero issue accessing those links, from 4 different internet access points including 2 on highly secured VPN’s.
    Forgive me for doubting the veracity of your issues accessing links I find to be as public as is technically possible to obtain. Perhaps the security in place on your servers is even stronger than those I used. But financial tunnels are pretty well locked down, almost as unusable as a government Blackberry! (outside the authorized uses…)

  23. Steve says:

    So, take a look at the links….they are real. Affecting real people….

    Then take a look at your hypothetical. After that I could be persuaded to discuss theory vs reality.

    After all, you are purporting theory while I am showing reality. No insults….only reality.

  24. Rincon says:

    If you advocate a more market based health care system, then your proposal is more hypothetical than mine because no one worth considering is running a true market based health care system. The kind of health care system I advocate is already being successfully run in Australia for example. That’s not hypothetical.

    I still don’t hear an answer for my 95 year old with Alzheimer’s and kidney failure. Just let him go?

  25. Steve says:

    You insist on ignoring the links.There is a totally functional market based operation in full operation…Nothing HYPE othetical about it!

    OTOH, your challenge is totally HYPEothetical.

    Follow the links.Be real, stop being HYPEothetical.

  26. Rincon says:

    You’re babbling Steve. Besides, since you insist on ignoring my 95 year old, I have decided that this conversation is too one sided. Have a nice day.

  27. Steve says:

    Your 95 year old is a concoction you made up to change the direction of the blog from one of reality to one of hypotheticals you can argue to your heart’s content.

    No babbling needed, you are doing enough for everyone.

  28. Rincon says:

    So the answer is that you have no idea how to finance the care of someone like this in your “nonhypothetical” scheme. Even though these patients exist, and in large numbers (although I will freely admit that many are not precisely 95 years old), you consider them hypothetical. No surprise there.

  29. Steve says:

    “So the answer is” you make shit up and attribute it to me!

    GO READ THE LINK.

  30. Rincon says:

    I read the links – and there are THREE of them. Nothing there so far as I can tell. Can you take the trouble to show me that your request isn’t just to send me on a wild goose chase? I didn’t think so.
    Some day, someone’s got to teach you to cut and paste. It’s really not that hard. Honest.

  31. Steve says:

    “Nothing there so far as I can tell.”

    really…you got nothing from the price list for the surgery center…nothing at all.

    figures….

    Oh Magoo, you’ve done it again.

  32. Rincon says:

    So far as I know, Alzheimer’s and kidney failure are not treated surgically. More importantly, the mere posting of a price has nothing to do with who pays the bill, which was my question to you.

  33. Steve says:

    Delivery of services. For a set, publicly visible (verifiable), price “has nothing to do with who pays the bill” ????

    wow, just wow.

  34. Rincon says:

    Regardless of the price, it can be paid by the patient, an insurance company or the government with a variety of possible schemes for each. No Steve, who pays and how much they pay are two different things – really!

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