Premiums and 'Obamacare'
As the one year anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable
Care Act nears, The New York Times notices that health insurance
premiums still haven't gone down. Just the opposite, in fact:
We know, for example, that benefit mandates drive up the cost of
insurance. This ought to be self-evident to anyone who's ever
purchased, say, car insurance: A bigger benefit package means more
expensive premiums. The same is true in the health insurance market.
Now, is there anything in that NYT article that Reason left out?
Some insurance industry lobbyists say the new federal health care law
is driving up premiums. But Vincent Capozzi, senior vice president for
sales and customer service at Harvard Pilgrim, said that only one
percentage point of the increases here was attributable to the federal
law, mainly its requirement for free coverage of preventive services.
Another percentage point results from new state laws requiring coverage
of hearing aids and certain treatments for autism, Mr. Capozzi said.
Most of the remainder, he said, reflects increases in the use and cost
of medical care by small-group customers, with adjustments for
demographic characteristics like age.
This in a story that's talking about increases this year of 20-40
percentage points! Perhaps mandates are not, in fact, the main driver
of costs, hmm, Reason?