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Healthcare Reform as Spectator Sport

Jeff Elliott, for HealthLeaders Media, February 2, 2011

"The new law will expand coverage to millions of Americans, but fails to address the healthcare cost crisis," said America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) President and CEO Karen Ignagni. "Focusing solely on premiums while failing to rein in underlying medical costs will not make coverage more affordable for individuals, families and employers."

AHIP says the report "overstates the cost savings associated with certain provisions of the new law and ignores major provisions that will raise premiums." In its reasoning, AHIP brings up the fact that HHS conveniently ignored the new premium tax that will increase premiums, which according to some economists, could mean that families are paying $135 billion more in insurance premiums over the next 10 years.

Furthermore, the AHIP points out CBO's figures that indicate essential benefits buy ups would increase premiums between 27 to 30 percent. Quoting economist and administration consultant Jonathan Gruber, AHIP noted that "a 10 percent rise in the cost of the essential benefits package would increase the cost of government subsidies by 14.5 percent, or $67 billion."

Why all the chest thumping on both sides? As a law, don't we know who will win in the end? No matter, I'll grab my popcorn and keep watching …

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