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Op Ed: Premiums Up, Choices Down:
The First Wave of Obamacare
By: Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D.
Kaiser Family Foundation just released further bad news about the poorly named Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). American families facing a bad economy, high unemployment, and crashing home values now get hit with another cost increase: higher health insurance premiums that are rising more every year. Obama’s campaign focused on “hope and change,” but I suspect these winds of “change” are ones that most Americans did not “hope” for, did not want, and would like to escape.
Look at the bleak facts:
- In 2011, the annual health insurance premium for a family of four was pushed above $15,000 for the first time ever.
- The 2011 annual health insurance premium was 31% higher than 2006, and 113% higher than in 2001.
- Health insurance premiums were 9% higher in 2011 than in 2010. And the media says there is no inflation? Did your income go up 9% from 2010 to 2011? Not for the vast majority of Americans!
Hurricane Irene wreaked visible damage all along the Eastern seaboard this fall. The damage from Obamacare’s extensive new mandates and regulations is less visible, but no less damaging to individuals, families, businesses, and our overall economy. At least we had warning that Hurricane Irene was coming and could take steps to prepare and protect ourselves. But we were falsely promised that the hurricane named Obamacare would lower costs, improve access to health insurance, and “protect patients.” Even in this earliest stage, with only a fraction of the mandates implemented, we are seeing massive damage.
Obamacare advocates like to blame the “greedy” insurance companies. But most of the blame for higher premiums is directly caused by the Obamacare first wave of mandates and regulations.
As of the fall of 2010, all insurance policies must:
1) keep adult “children” up to age 26 on parents’ policies,
2) provide “free” preventive care and screenings for everyone
3) cover all pre-existing medical conditions.
Adding this coverage for everyone unavoidably means the policy will have to cost more.
Obamacare regulations already control practically every decision a private insurance company can make. It is only going to get worse as government “medicrats” micromanage every single aspect of insurance coverage.
When the government gets in the middle, it always costs more. Think hugely inflated prices for solar panels made by Solyndra. Think high-priced toilets when the Pentagon pays. Think $16 dollar muffins for government bureaucrats to eat at government conferences. The government is buying? Triple or quadruple the price!
As health insurance premiums spiral up at this rate, more and more families will be forced away from the private policies and into Medicaid. This is not an “unintended consequence.” The goal of this Administration, as Obama himself has said on tape, is to drive private insurers out of business when people are unable to afford the policies that are “Obamacare-compliant.” The end result is the “public option” of fully socialized medicine that was the intent all along. Obamacare will destroy the private sector in medicine and make people dependent on the federal government, with the federal bureaucrats controlling every aspect of your medical care.
Real reform would put Americans—instead of the government or the insurance company—back in the driver’s seat as patients and savvy consumers. Americans need to take back their rights, including the right to choose how, when, where, and with whom to seek medical care and health insurance. Only then will we see premiums start to decrease.
Patient power. Not government power. What a novel idea!
Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet
Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D. is a preventive and
climacteric medicine specialist founder of Hormone Health Strategies medical
Vliet is the 2007 recipient of the Voice of Women award from the Arizona
Foundation for Women for her pioneering advocacy for the overlooked hormone
connections in women’s health. Dr. Vliet received her M.D. degree and
internship in Internal Medicine at
Dr. Vliet has appeared on
Dr. Vliet's books include: It’s My Ovaries, Stupid!; Screaming To Be Heard: Hormonal Connections Women Suspect-- And Doctors STILL Ignore; Women, Weight and Hormones; The Savvy Woman's Guide to PCOS, The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Testosterone.
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DISCLAIMER: Dr. Vliet speaks as an independent physician, not as an official spokesperson for any organization. Dr. Vliet has no financial ties to any health care system, pharmaceutical company, or health insurance plan. Her allegiance and advocacy is to and for patients.