Senate Democrats are scrambling to hold onto their moderates after the health-insurance industry pulled out of its alliance with the Obama administration and issued a report (blogged about by Charlotte Hays here) indicating that health insurance premiums will rise by thousands of dollars for typical insured families if Obamacare becomes law.
From My Way News:
“Distorted and flawed,” said White House spokeswoman Linda Douglass. “Fundamentally dishonest,” said AARP’s senior policy strategist, John Rother. “A hatchet job,” said a spokesman for Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont.
It’s all happening just as the Senate Finance Committee is set to vote today on Baucus’s $829 million bill that’s been touted as the middle-of-the-road approach to healthcare reform because it lacks the public option (government-run insurance) pushced by liberals:
At the heart of the industry’s complaint is a decision by lawmakers to weaken the requirement that millions more Americans get coverage. Since the legislation would ban insurance companies from denying coverage on account of poor health, many people will wait to sign up until they get sick, the industry says. And that will drive up costs for everybody else.
Insurers are now raising possibilities such as higher premiums for people who postpone getting coverage, or waiting periods for those who ignore a proposed government requirement to get insurance and later have a change of heart.
It’s an “et tu, Brute” moment for Democrats, because the insurance industry had signed on to support the Obama administration’s healthcare overhaul–unlike the situation in 1993-94, when the industry helped sink the Clinton administration’s efforts to transform healthcare delivery. Now, in light of the bombshell study, prepared by the PriceWaterhouseCooper firm for the industry group America’s Health Insurance Plans, it may be back to “Harry and Louise.”
The study projects that the legislation would add $1,700 a year to the cost of family coverage in 2013, when most of the major provisions of the Baucus bill would be in effect.
Premiums for a single person would go up by $600 more than would be the case without the legislation, it estimated.
In 10 years’ time, premiums would be $4,000 higher for a family plan, and $1,500 more for individual coverage.
Politico reports that liberal Dems will likely seek revenge against the insurance industry:
White House and Senate officials hinted at the possibility of legislative payback for releasing a report Democrats described as deeply flawed and self-serving. At the very least, officials said, it will help Democrats close ranks behind the Finance Committee bill, which had come under fire from the progressives as too moderate.
They also predicted liberal lawmakers will go harder after the insurers, perhaps by proposing a cap on premiums or solidifying support for the government insurance plan.
Solidifying support for an idea that only 40 percent of U.S. voters support? Good luck.