The Government Knows Best Approach to Health Care Reform Recieves a Double Whammy

by Robert Maynard

The resignation of the Chairman of the Green Mountain Care Board should be seen in the context of the continued implosion of Obamacare.  The latest sign of that implosion is the Obama Administration admitting what the critics of Obamacare have predicted all along, that Obamacare is resulting in higher insurance costs:

A watershed moment in the ongoing disaster of ObamaCare, as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius finally admits that health insurance premiums are rising because of the President’s health insurance takeover, per the Wall Street Journal:

Ms. Sebelius’s remarks come weeks before insurers are expected to begin releasing rates for plans that start on Jan. 1, 2014, when key provisions of the health law kick in. Premiums have been a sensitive subject for the Obama administration, which is counting on elements in the health law designed to increase competition among insurers to keep rates in check. The administration has pointed to subsidies that will be available for many lower-income Americans to help them with the cost of coverage.

The secretary’s remarks are among the first direct statements from federal officials that people who have skimpy health plans right now could face higher premiums for plans that are more generous. She noted that the law requires plans to provide better benefits and treat all customers equally regardless of their medical claims.

“These folks will be moving into a really fully insured product for the first time, and so there may be a higher cost associated with getting into that market,” she said. “But we feel pretty strongly that with subsidies available to a lot of that population that they are really going to see much better benefit for the money that they’re spending.”

Ms. Sebelius added that those customers currently pay more for their health care if their plans have high out-of-pocket costs, high deductibles or exclude particular types of coverage, such as mental health treatment. She also said that some men and younger customers could see their rates increase while women and older customers could see their rates drop because the law restricts insurers’ ability to set rates based on age and gender.

Don’t worry, folks, ObamaCare is blowing premiums through the roof, but there will be subsidies available for lower-income Americans! That means the rest of us will get screwed twice – once when we pay our higher insurance premiums, then again when we pay for all those lovely subsidies.

There will be two arguments coming out of this. One side will say that it just shows that a government knows best approach to health care reform does not work and it is time to try an approach based on patient empowerment. The other side will argue that Obamacare did not work because it did not go far enough and that the answer is to go to a full blown single payer system. The latter argument is where this whole thing is headed as far as the left is concerned.  We here in Vermont are at ground zero of that argument, which magnifies any potential problem with Green Mountain Care.  Could that be imploding as well?  As the Vermonters for Health Care Freedom press release points out, the departure of the Green Mountain Care Board’s Director could mean trouble for the implementation of Green Mountain Care.  While that is probably true, is this resignation a case of getting out before the thing collapses?  In other words, perhaps the resignation may not be the cause of GMC’s implosion, but the recognition of a key figure that such an implosion is imminent.

Given that the push for single payer has crashed and burned at least twice before on the finance question and that there seems to be a deliberate attempt to avoid discussion on how this whole thing is going to be paid for, it is not unreasonable to wonder if Green Mountain Care Board Chair Anya Rader-Wallack saw the writing on the wall and decided to cut her losses.