opinion

What editorial writers are saying about the Kaiser health insurance report

A Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust report, released Sept. 27, found that premiums rose 9% in 2011, faster than wages and inflation.

Posted Oct. 24, 2011.

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Opponents of the health system reform law blamed government regulation for the spike, but supporters noted that Kaiser attributed only a small portion of premium increases to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Higher insurance rates and the absurd health care debate

The Kaiser people have been doing these studies since 1999. Each year the results make it ever more obvious that this absurd system is unsustainable. Employer-sponsored health care is a product of booming postwar economies with low unemployment, high unionization rates, hospitals run by religious organizations and universities and a medical system that had not yet begun to perform the miracles of which it is capable today. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Oct. 4

Affordable care?

So where, skeptics of President Obama's signature domestic initiative might well ask, is the affordable part? Valid question. Complicated answer. Parsing the annual report on employer-provided health care costs from the nonpartisan experts at the Kaiser Family Foundation reveals that, out of the 9% rise in annual premium costs, 1 or 2 percentage points are attributable to provisions of the [health system reform law]. The Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 2

Health care reform needed, stat

Insurance companies blame an increase in the cost of care. The news is compelling evidence for why we need health care reform. The unconscionable cost increases accelerate a trend of Americans paying more than anyone on earth for health care. Each American spent an average of $7,410 in 2009. That's almost double the payments in other developed nations, including those with higher overall costs of living, according to World Health Organization data. We each paid almost triple what a Japanese resident did -- $2,713. And yet for all this spending, our life expectancy remains comparatively low. The conclusion is clear: We're overpaying for health care. The Kansas City (Mo.) Star, Sept. 28

Medical costs keep escalating

In other words, even if this year's spike in health care costs can be explained in part by factors unrelated to an actual increase in medical costs -- such as insurers setting rates based upon expectations of a stronger economy -- the overall trend still represents a deadly specter for both individual prosperity and government solvency. In a word, it's a looming disaster. And yet our political leaders mostly still refuse to come to terms with it. The Chico (Calif.) Enterprise-Record, Oct. 3

Despite ObamaCare, costs continue to soar

Nothing to worry about, they said, it's just a response to higher health costs and bad forecasts. But wait a minute! Didn't Obama promise his signature health reform plan would lower insurance premiums? As a matter of fact he did, saying just before he signed it into law that ObamaCare would "bring down the cost of health care for families, for businesses and for the federal government." Not only did that not happen, ObamaCare has reversed a years-long trend toward smaller annual premium increases, suggesting insurers finally started to figure out how to get costs down. Investor's Business Daily, Sept. 27

Health insurance costs trampling workers, economy

Of course, there may also be a connection between higher premiums this year and another provision of the new law: the one requiring the insurance companies, starting next year, to justify premium increases of 10% or more. The health insurance companies themselves point to constantly increasing health care costs, accentuated by a recession that has deterred the hiring of young people and the retirement of older ones -- leaving employers who provide insurance with a work force that's older, sicker and more costly to insure. We're not sure of the answer here, but we do know one has to be found. Even if the next annual increase in premiums is just 5%, as some analysts expect, it's a burden American workers, their employers and the economy as a whole can't keep carrying. The Annapolis (Md.) Capital Gazette, Sept. 29

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