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Reform’s Effect on Health Insurance Premiums

By February 14, 2012Commentary

One of the health economics experts who supported the President’s health reform law by doing “research” showing that it would likely reduce health insurance premiums has now recanted.  Jonathan Gruber is an MIT professor widely viewed as an expert on health care and health insurance and he now says the law will raise premiums rather sharply.   (Gruber Presentation)  (Daily Caller Post)   While he may not acknowledge it, his earlier “research” may have been influenced by almost $400,000 in no-bid contracts he got from the administration, as well as $565,000 in another contract from NIH on Part D, and he probably was an ideological soulmate of the Administration. His current analysis finds that if you disregard subsidies, premiums are likely going up for everyone.  Even counting subsidies, Gruber recently told the State of Wisconsin that 59% of people in the individual market will see an average premium increase of 30%.  In addition to this, Gruber told the State to expect “significant” disruption to its employer-based market, as up to 100,000 people will lose their coverage in the workplace.  His presentation calls the PPACA a “forced redistribution of wealth”, but the redistribution is not just from the wealthy, but from the working class as well.  In addition, most small groups and small group employees will experience premium increases.

All of these untoward effects in just one state, but Gruber has told two other states to expect the same thing and there is not reason to believe it won’t occur nationally.  There is no point mincing words about this or the same process and policy mistakes will be made again.  The President and his Administration lied about the likely impact on health insurance premiums.  It was a lie because they knew that that what they were saying was very unlikely to occur and they knew that they had paid off their ideological bedfellows in the health expert community to write “research” supporting their false claims.  Others, who should have been paid more attention to at the time, pointed out that insurance premiums would in fact almost certainly rise as a result of the law.  If you ever wonder why Americans are so cynical about their government, this example should more than explain it.  As all the rationales for the “reform” law are exposed to be false, there seems to be little reason to leave most of it in place.  There are other and better ways to truly reduce health spending and consequently health insurance premiums.

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