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Obamacare sticker shock: 146 percent rate increases to be triggered in California

Monday, June 17, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: Obamacare, insurance premiums, health care costs

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(NaturalNews) "You can keep your current health insurance." "You can keep your doctor." "I will not sign a [health care reform] bill that adds one dime to the deficit." And this whopper: "Insurance rates will go down under health care reform."

All of these statements were made over and over again by President Obama and his enablers in Congress and the public policy realm during the debate over the monstrosity that eventually came to be known as "Obamacare."

In the years since, every single one of those statements has been proven false, but perhaps the most damaging to families is the lie that Obamacare would lower your insurance rates.

As we've already reported, major insurance companies have warned that rates will not only rise but rise dramatically, in some cases 100-400 percent (http://www.naturalnews.com). Now comes the news that rates will rise by double and triple percentages in California, a deep blue state which voted heavily for Obama - twice - whose officials, like Obama, have also lied about Obamacare's effects on health insurance rates.

Not cheaper

In late May state officials said their version of Obamacare would lower rates. "These rates are way below the worst-case gloom-and-doom scenarios we have heard," crowed Peter Lee, executive director of the California exchange.

But, as Forbes reports:

...[T]he data that Lee released tells a different story: Obamacare, in fact, will increase individual-market premiums in California by as much as 146 percent.

One of the most serious flaws with Obamacare is that its blizzard of regulations and mandates drives up the cost of insurance for people who buy it on their own.

This problem will be especially acute when the law's main provisions kick in on January 1, 2014, leading many to worry about health insurance "rate shock."

Lee has said there won't be any rate shock in California, and these ridiculously false claims have been parroted without substantiation by others - indeed, even from other Forbes writers, such as Rick Ungar, who has written: "Despite the political naysayers the healthcare exchange concept appears to be working very well indeed in states like California."

But that's simply not the case, counters Avik Roy, also a Forbes contributor:

Here's what happened. [In late May] Covered California - the name for the state's Obamacare-compatible insurance exchange - released the rates that Californians will have to pay to enroll in the exchange.

Misleading comparison

"The rates submitted to Covered California for the 2014 individual market ranged from two percent above to 29 percent below the 2013 average premium for small employer plans in California's most populous regions," the state said in a press release.

That statement has led Obamacare supporters trumpeting. "This is a home run for consumers in every region of California," Lee said.

But, as Roy noted, Lee was making a misleading comparison:

He was comparing apples - the plans that Californians buy today for themselves in a robust individual market - and oranges - the highly regulated plans that small employers purchase for their workers as a group. The difference is critical.

If, for example, a Californian is a 25-year-old male non-smoker who is purchasing insurance for himself, the cheapest Obamacare plan is the catastrophic plan, which averages about $184 a month. "By 'average,' I mean the median monthly premium across California's 19 insurance rating regions," writes Roy.

The next cheapest plan, the "bronze" plan, costs around $205 a month. However, in 2013 according to eHealthInsurance.com, the median cost of the five most inexpensive plans was only $92. So, a typical 25-year-old non-smoker will see premiums rise by between 100 and 123 percent. Only in the world of Obama would that be remotely considered a better deal.

Premiums set to double, at least

Roy explains:

Under Obamacare, only people under the age of 30 can participate in the slightly cheaper catastrophic plan. So if you're 40, your cheapest option is the bronze plan. In California, the median price of a bronze plan for a 40-year-old male non-smoker will be $261.

But on eHealthInsurance, the median cost of the five cheapest plans was $121. That is, Obamacare will increase individual-market premiums by an average of 116 percent.

For both 25-year-olds and 40-year-olds, then, Californians under Obamacare who buy insurance for themselves will see their insurance premiums double.

The fact is Obamacare was never about lower rates, better care, cheaper services and expanded coverage. The concept behind Obamacare - the federal government's takeover of health care, covering you from cradle to grave - was about control. Were that not the case, the promises that were made by Obama and his fellow Democrats would have been true, and actual "control" over your healthcare would still be in the purview of you and your own doctor, which is where it should be.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Obamacare replaces the traditional doctor-patient relationship to that of government-patient, and in doing so will wreck healthcare delivery as we know it.

That's because there is nothing that government does well or efficiently. Turning our healthcare system over to a bunch of faceless unaccountable bureaucrats is going to be a disaster, pure and simple.

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