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February 22 2011

Policy Focus: How You'll Pay for ObamaCare

Hadley Heath

The health reform legislation passed in March 2010 (officially the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” but more commonly referred to as “ObamaCare”) was supposed to stop the rapid increase of health insurance prices and slow national spending on health care. Yet today many analysts believe that average insurance premiums will be driven higher and national spending on health care will increase faster, not slower, because of the new law.

The new health law requires that all insurance policies contain “minimum essential coverage.” That means individuals will no longer decide what level of coverage is right for them. Instead, the government will decide. As a result, many Americans will have to purchase policies that cover treatments they don’t want or need—and that will cost them more.

New restrictions about insurance pricing will force many to subsidize other policy holders. These mandates also mean insurance companies will compete less, and face less market pressure to control costs.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also dramatically increases government spending on health care. This spending will be financed by American taxpayers and their families for years to come.

Competitive markets are the best mechanism to keep prices low. In a truly competitive market, sellers work to offer the highest quality goods for the lowest possible prices in order to attract more buyers. This system of trading differs from a government-run program, because both buyers and sellers are free to make decisions about what kind of products to offer and buy.

Our current health care system isn’t perfect, but ObamaCare takes us in the wrong direction toward higher prices and more government control. Instead, the government should repeal this counter-productive reform and embrace new legislation to empower patients and create a real health care market.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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