First, we learned that a $500 billion cut in Medicare will dramatically affect the quality and quantity of health care available to America's senior citi-zens. Grand-ma's access is being slashed to add illegal immigrants and 20-some-things into the insurance system. However, this revelation pales in rela-tion to what we heard this week.
Here's the latest shock: Av-erage current health insur-ance premiums with likely triple under Obamacare.
The new data comes from a well regarded, state-by-state study conducted for WellPoint Inc. The most dramatic premium boosts will hit young people. These are the actual individuals that often opt out of insurance plans now.
Reaction from the Obama White House was swift and harsh. Linda Douglass, Obama's health care spokeswoman, had the audacity to compare the health insurance firm with tobacco companies. Since the White House refuses to argue the facts, they instead turned to using one of their favorite tactics, which is demonizing any voices of dissent.
The reason for the dramatic insurance premium increases is the result of Obamacare regulations. First cause is the mandate that insurance companies take any customer. Insurance traditionally is an actuarial business that rates different customers based on risk factors. This is the reason a driver aged 19 with two speeding tickets pays more for auto insurance than a customer aged 35 with no speeding tickets. Nineteen-year-olds have more accidents. Therefore they pose more risk.
Traditionally, health insurance companies charged customers with risk factors and chronic illness more than young, healthy 19-year-olds. Obamacare stands the concept of insurance on its head. Since an insurance company will be forced to sell to any sick patient, the incentive to buy insurance when you are healthy decreases. Why not wait until you are sick; get cancer, diabetes or some other severe illness before you buy?
To circumvent this problem, Obama is riddling the pro-gram with police-state man-dates on healthy, younger citi-zens. Perverted, negative in-centives such as threats of large fines and even prison time will hang over young pe-ople's heads to force them to join and stay enrolled in Oba-a's health care scheme. Does this sound like America to you?
Democratic leaders in Con-gress are seeing support slip through their fingers because Americans are learning that they will end up paying more for less-adequate care. The beneficiaries of this plan are still lobbying hard. Big business will likely dump most of their current employee-based plans and pay the less expensive tax.
Big unions are facing the reality that they are going to be bankrupted by their generous membership health plans. Many want to dump their responsibilities on the new government option recently revived by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. AARP is salivating at the money they will make selling new, bigger Medicare-gap plans after the current program is gutted.
These powerful lobbies are the driving force for change. Individual family finances will pay the higher costs and see no benefit.
There is still time to kill this wrongheaded plan and replace it with reforms that will truly work. Selling insurance across state lines will increase competition and lower prices. Tort reform that eliminates outrageous judgments in malpractice cases will get lawyers out of medicine; this will result in eliminating billions currently being spent in the name of defensive medicine.
Insurance can work, but the costly mandates and regulations already choking the health care system are a big barrier to cutting costs.
Free markets deliver to Americans consumer goods, groceries, veterinary services, and even plastic surgery at affordable prices with little government meddling. Let the free market price and correct the distortions currently in the health care system.
Government has bankrupted Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Social Security, Medicare and the U.S. Postal Service. Let's not let the politicians destroy the greatest health care delivery system in the world.
Floyd and Mary Beth Brown are bestselling authors and speakers. Together they write a national weekly column distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Floyd is also president of the Western Center for Journalism.