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ObamaCare doubles high-risk medical costs

As promised by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, we’re still finding out what was in ObamaCare, years after the Democrats passed it.  The latest happy news, courtesy of the Washington Post, is that costs for enrollees in the high-risk insurance pools are literally double what the ObamaCare con artists predicted they would be:

The health-care law set aside $5 billion for a Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, meant to provide health insurance to those who had been declined coverage by private carriers. Since its launch last summer, nearly 50,000 Americans have enrolled in the program.

The PCIP program will phase out in 2014, when insurers will be required to accept all applicants regardless of their health-care status.

Those who have enrolled in the program are projected to have significantly higher medical costs than the government initially expected. Each participant is expected to average $28,994 in medical costs in 2012, according to the report, more than double what government-contracted actuaries predicted in November 2010. Then, the analysts expected that the program would cost $13,026 per enrollee.

The Post goes on to report that “Enrollees in the plan tend to use health-care services at much higher rates than the general population, the report said. They have more than eight times as many hospital admissions as government workers in a traditional Federal Employee Health Benefits plan, and more than three times as many emergency room visits.”

The Administration, far from expressing contrition for this latest ObamaCare fiscal disaster, says the 200 percent costs mean the system is working:

The Obama administration says that the high cost of PCIP patients shows that the high-risk pools are serving the exact population it hoped to target: Americans with significant health-care needs who previously could not afford coverage. It’s also a result of how the federal government structured the high-risk pools.

“We certainly have seen higher costs than what you have seen in some of the state-run programs,” said Steve Larsen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO). “There are design features that are different in the federal program than in state-run programs.”

Larsen cited the federal requirement that an individual must be uninsured for at least six months to become eligible for the plan. Such enrollees may have “pent up medical demands,” he said, that had gone untreated until the individuals enrolled in the new, federal coverage.

And none of that was predicted in the cost estimates you geniuses put together for ObamaCare?  As is so often the case with Obama debacles, the choice for an explanation lies between foolishness and fraud.  Either the people who put this thing together had absolutely no idea what they were doing… or they knew it would end up costing double what they predicted, and lied about it to secure passage of the law.

The failure of cost control in the “high-risk insurance pool” highlights the absurdity of calling mandatory coverage for pre-existing conditions “insurance” at all.  The Post notes that 67 percent of participants are over the age of 45, while fewer than 20 percent are under 34.  Lumping insurance for the relatively remote risk of healthy young people incurring catastrophic costs, with guaranteed expenses for older people with pre-existing conditions, and describing it all as “insurance” is sheer lunacy. 

Just wait until those 200 percent costs fall out of the “public exchanges” and are mandated onto private insurance companies in 2014.  The shock wave from collapsing insurance companies will devastate the industry, fling all those people back into public exchanges managed by the most bankrupt government in the world, and set the stage for a single-payer socialized medical takeover… exactly as ObamaCare was designed to do.

Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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