Biden’s Stealth Health Insurance Takeover
One of the industries that has seen the biggest increase in prices since Biden occupied the White House is the health insurance industry. Health Insurance costs rose by more than 12% in just the past year.
And that’s on top of the 47% they have increased since 2011, before Obamacare, AKA “The Affordable Care Act” passed. And you now get less for your money; deductibles have surged 68.4% over the last decade to an average $1,669 up from $991.
This year, reported CNBC, 85% of covered workers have a deductible in their plan, up from 74% a decade ago. At companies with under 200 employees, average deductibles are 70% higher than those at larger firms ($2,379 vs. $1,397).
CNBC reported annual premiums for family coverage have now reached an average $22,221, with workers contributing an average $5,969 toward the cost and employers paying the rest.
Clearly nothing is becoming more “affordable” when it comes to health care coverage, observed our friend economist Stephen Moore.
So, with these vast increases in health insurance costs how did it come about that back in August the Health and Human Services Department could announce it estimated there are now 5.2 million fewer uninsured Americans than in 2020.
Simple: Medicaid rolls during the pandemic swelled by 24 million—a 34% increase—while two million more adults enrolled in ObamaCare exchange plans.
But, as Mr. Moore pointed out in a recent issue of his must-read “Unleash Prosperity Hotline,” the Wall Street Journal editorial page noted another troubling trend in health care based on the just-released Census Bureau report on income, health, and poverty. Private health insurance is getting squeezed out of the market.
Here are the numbers of “change in Health Insurance Coverage 2020-21” per Mr. Moore’s analysis:
Private plans: -1.5 million
Medicaid: +3.2 million
Medicare: +1.7 million
CHQ translation: A million and a half people left the private health insurance market and almost 5 million started getting their health insurance from the government, in just one year!
The Wall Street Journal observed a large part of the answer as to why this shift has occurred is the “The Families First Coronavirus Relief Act” from March 2020, which barred states from removing people who become ineligible from their Medicaid rolls for the duration of the public-health emergency in return for a bump in federal funding.
If not for Mr. Biden’s recurring emergency declaration, noted the WSJ editors, about 20 million Medicaid enrollees would no longer be eligible, most because their incomes exceed the threshold for qualifying. Many could now get coverage through their employers, but why pay insurance premiums when Medicaid is “free”?
And what are the chances Biden is going to officially end the pandemic emergency right before the midterm elections - even though in one of his truth-telling gaffes he declared the pandemic to be over?
At the time of Obamacare’s passage, conservatives led by Steve Moore and others, predicted that this was just another big leap to get across the river to socialized medicine in America. And it seems to be working.
The first step would be to expand Medicare and Medicaid and subsidize private plans, and the next step would be to make the government plans so widely available (Biden has all but eliminated work requirements for welfare) that private coverage would eventually only be concierge care for the very rich.
Everyone else would be insured by Uncle Sam said Mr. Moore.
And the incentives to switch to socialized health care insurance continue to grow. Most enrollees now qualify for subsidies to help cover the cost of premiums, reported CNBC, or, depending on their income, help with other cost-sharing, like copays. Additionally, the subsidies were expanded for 2021 and 2022 so that more families could qualify.
Conservatives shouldn’t waste even one tear for the private insurers observed Steve Moore. They were the biggest supporters of Obamacare because of the subsidies for private plans. The insurers got in bed with the enemy – and now they are getting a knife right in the back.
The pandemic and its attendant assumptions of emergency powers by the government have had all kinds of disastrous effects on markets and individual liberty, but one of the most underrecognized and underreported is the shift from private health insurance to socialized government health insurance. Steve Moore predicts the shrinkage of the private market will continue and we will soon be talking about Uncle Sam Inc. when it comes to the health care industry.
Control of Congress
health insurance prices
Affordable Care Act
COVID emergency declaration
socialized health insurance