LA Times Headline: 'Some Health Insurance Gets Pricier as Obamacare Rolls Out'
While the media surprisingly focus attention on the disastrous rollout of the health insurance exchanges, the bigger story is the number of Americans that are seeing their premiums explode as a result of the so-called "Affordable Care Act."
Kudos therefore go to the the Los Angeles Times which began a Sunday article titled "Some Health Insurance Gets Pricier as Obamacare Rolls Out" with the equally surprising lead, "Thousands of Californians are discovering what Obamacare will cost them — and many don't like what they see":
These middle-class consumers are staring at hefty increases on their insurance bills as the overhaul remakes the healthcare market. Their rates are rising in large part to help offset the higher costs of covering sicker, poorer people who have been shut out of the system for years.
Although recent criticism of the healthcare law has focused on website glitches and early enrollment snags, experts say sharp price increases for individual policies have the greatest potential to erode public support for President Obama's signature legislation.
"This is when the actual sticker shock comes into play for people," said Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
After sharing a real-life example of a southern California attorney whose premiums are going to almost triple, the Times continued:
But middle-income consumers face an estimated 30% rate increase, on average, in California due to several factors tied to the healthcare law.
Some may elect to go without coverage if they feel prices are too high. Penalties for opting out are very small initially. Defections could cause rates to skyrocket if a diverse mix of people don't sign up for health insurance.
Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, said she received a recent letter from a young woman complaining about a 50% rate hike related to the healthcare law.
"She said, 'I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it,'" Kehaly said.
The Times also shared some scary numbers:
Blue Shield of California sent termination letters to 119,000 customers last month whose plans don't meet the new federal requirements. About two-thirds of those people will experience a rate increase from switching to a new health plan, according to the company.
HMO giant Kaiser Permanente is canceling coverage for about half of its individual customers, or 160,000 people, and offering to automatically enroll them in the most comparable health plan available. [...]
All these cancellations were prompted by a requirement from Covered California, the state's new insurance exchange. The state didn't want to give insurance companies the opportunity to hold on to the healthiest patients for up to a year, keeping them out of the larger risk pool that will influence future rates.
And there was one more surprise:
Still, many are frustrated at being forced to give up the plans they have now. They frequently cite assurances given by Obama that Americans could hold on to their health insurance despite the massive overhaul.
"All we've been hearing the last three years is if you like your policy you can keep it," said Deborah Cavallaro, a real estate agent in Westchester. "I'm infuriated because I was lied to."
Now it's of course wonderful to see the Times tell the truth about this disaster. However, conservatives predicted all of this when the law was being debated before its enactment without a single Republican vote.
If the media had been honest about this at the time, it might never have passed.