Blame Greed, Not Obama For Rise In Health Insurance Premiums

Corporate greed, not the Affordable Care Act, behind the rise in health insurance costs.

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It's Obama's fault

Isn't everything? I can’t believe what I am hearing and reading. Insurance companies are raising their premiums and, of course, that is President Obama's fault. It's that damn "Obamacare." Ah, no, it isn't. 

Insurance companies have been raising their subscriber's premiums for years before Mr. Obama was president; actually, even before he was "Senator Obama."

I have a family plan to cover my husband and our two children; but I also own two small businesses and cover my employees’ healthcare at both companies. The large private PPO provider who I won't name, but has the color of the sky in their title (ahem), has increased my premiums for both group plans and my individual family plan at least once a year for the past five years. And when I phone them and ask why, they don’t have an answer. They certainly don't say: It's President Obama's fault and the passage of the Affordable Care Act.  

[See a collection of political cartoons on healthcare.]

As a matter of fact, the president of Kaiser also stated that healthcare reform is not the reason for the increased premiums; at best, it might contribute to 1 percent; so what is the other 99 percent? What is the reason these insurance companies keep increasing our premiums?

How can healthcare reform increase our premiums? Due to the increased number of people being covered by the reform act (mostly children and students who may remain on their parent's plan), there are more people purchasing plans, whether employers or employees, which actually brings more money to those insurance companies. So why the increase? 

Every time my plan has been increased, I have phoned to ask what additional benefits I am receiving for that cost increase; and every time the answer is the same: none. When I ask why, no one knows. But I know, it's greed.

[See a slide show of 10 things that are (and aren't) in the healthcare bill.]  

All, not some, all of the heads of these insurance companies earn millions of dollars a year in their paychecks. The insurance companies are one of the few in America not being negatively affected by our economy. Don't believe me? Check their stock prices, or the stock prices of most medical related companies for that matter.  

Actually, the increase in premiums, whether a person has an HMO or a PPO, just helps to support the need not only for healthcare reform, but for further reform, specifically a public option.

These increases are proof that the public needs another option, an affordable option. And the mandate? That drives business to the insurance companies, so they should be reducing the premiums. Insurance companies will say that many people are requesting a higher deductible; of course we are, it's a bad economy and most of us want to pay less per month, taking the risk that we won't end up in the E.R. or need surgery, etc.  

And according to my doctor-husband, that's a big risk. He's an orthopedic surgeon. Patients used to come see him when they were in pain—let's say their knee hurt. Now they come when their bones are sticking out—when they're chronic.  

[Read: White House Confident of Supreme Court Win on Healthcare]

So the increased prices by the insurance companies should be blamed on the insurance companies. They are hurting our healthcare system, doctors’ ability to provide proper care, and the economy as well; especially when so many Americans head to the E.R. once they’re chronic, which further bankrupts the system.  

Bottom line—don't blame Obama. Blame the insurance companies. They're the bad guys this time around.  

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