Unknown and unaffordable?

As Obamacare encroaches, get ready for your premiums to skyrocket

Kathleen Sebelius recently cited a slowdown in Medicare expenses and concluded that American health-care costs were going down.

Surely the Health and Human Services secretary knows that Medicare expenses aren’t the same as health-care costs. If Medicare expenses are down, that may be simply because the federal government has arbitrarily limited the amount it reimburses health-care providers – through fee schedules and allowed procedures.

The actual costs of the services are another matter entirely.

“What reality is Sebelius in?” one commenter wrote on TheHill.com website. “It’s agenda driven and not based on the full analysis of the data. They need to stop being selective with their figures and tell the truth.”

Indeed, the totality of the facts would seem to indicate that Sebelius is not just wrong but is off by a galaxy or two.

Whereas Obamacare was sold as a way to rein in costs and expand coverage – a neat trick just on the surface – a new congressional study says premiums are headed way up and insurance affordability is headed down.

“Some estimates show some Americans facing startling premium increases of 203 percent because of the law,” the study says.

In true Orwellian fashion, the Affordable Care Act may be anything but.

Now, just weeks after claiming “downward pressure on medical costs,” Sebelius was forced to admit that insurance premiums will actually be rising for many Americans under Obamacare.

A new report by the Society of Actuaries estimates medical claims will rise an average of 32 percent. Individual health insurance costs are projected to rise 62 percent in California, 80 percent in Ohio and 67 percent for Maryland.

“There is going to be a rate shock for a lot of people,” Bill Gracey, president of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, was quoted in a report out of Chattanooga.

Nor is the sweeping societal change that’s taking shape very well understood, according to a recent news report.

“President Obama’s health care law remains largely a mystery to most Americans, three years after the president signed it, a new survey shows,” the story says.

“Today, nearly six in 10 Americans say they still don’t have enough information to understand how the Affordable Care Act will affect them.

“Ignorance about the law is even higher among Americans who stand to benefit most, with more than two-thirds of people without health insurance reporting they don’t have enough information, the poll from the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation found.”

It doesn’t help, either, when administration officials are ballyhooing cost reductions one week and acknowledging cost increases the next.

This seems like a disaster in the making.

But maybe not an accident: Before promising as president that you could keep your current insurance, Mr. Obama once told a labor union audience, “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer (government) universal health care program. ... That’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. ...”

In a 2009 article, political watchdog Politifact.com noted fears among some Americans that “private insurance will wither in the face of a public option and Obama will get the single-payer system he secretly wants.”

So far, no signs have emerged to point in another direction.

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