Health reform NOT driving up rates, Colorado Division of Insurance proves

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

At the end of last week, at a bad time in the news cycle, the Colorado Division of Insurance released a stunning piece of actuarial data crunching. They looked at the rate filings for increases to health insurance premium renewal filings for 2011 and drilled all the way down into the “why are rates so high” question.

Their answer: Don’t blame the Affordable Care Act. In Colorado, the new provisions of federal health reform have contributed, at MAXIMUM 5% to the overall increase of health insurance premiums. And the 5% rates are the outliers; most are in the 1-3 % range.

Yet the health industry and others trying to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act have blamed it for increases of “20%!” “25%!” “30%!” And while the media has widely reported the exaggerated hyperbole of NFIB and the U.S. Chamber about the increases in health insurance premiums, they haven’t been nearly as eager to report the facts that DOI has released.

From DOI’s press release:

“It’s a hot issue for many people, and we figured the best way to address the rumors was to publish the facts, so people could see for themselves what is driving the price of health insurance,” said Marcy Morrison, Commissioner of Insurance.

In fact, Division of Insurance has released a chart on how much each new mandate in federal reform has affected rates. For paying an additional 0-5% on your health insurance, you get:

– expansion of coverage for young adults up to age 26

– elimination of pre-existing conditions for kids up to 19

– phasing out of annual limit

– removal of lifetime limits

– prohibiting companies from dropping when you get sick

– covering preventative services with $0 cost sharing

The difference this time is that you actually get something for your money.

Read the DOI’s fact sheet on factors affecting rates in 2010. And don’t believe the hype.

44 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Sir Robin says:

    This is the messaging that has to get to the American Public. This is what fodder our own Craig is talking about that should be effectively used. I can’t wait for the Libru Media” to pick up this story on every major media outlet. I feel myself getting a little giddy.

    The money quote (From CoPols):

    “The difference this time is that you actually get something for your money.”

  2. Ray Springfield says:

    People still won’t believe it. They believe sound bites.

  3. davebarnes says:

    I read the 2-page fact sheet and did not see and DATA.

  4. SSG_Dan says:

    …that damn socialist Big Government-run health care system keeps topping the civilian system:

    VA Health System Shines in Quality-of-Care Study

    WASHINGTON — A report in the November issue of the national publication Medical Care finds that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system generally outperforms the private sector in following recommended processes for patient care.

    “This report is strong evidence of the advancements VA continues to make in improving health care over the past 15 years,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  “The systems and quality-improvement measures VA actively uses are second to none, and the results speak for themselves.”

    A research team with VA, RAND Corp. (a non-profit research institution) and two universities reviewed 36 studies published between 1990 and 2009.  While the review did not include studies of surgical care, it did cover a range of studies of diseases common among Veterans, such as diabetes, heart disease and depression.

  5. JeffcoBlue says:

    Why does this have to come out AFTER the shills have fled the blog?

    At least we still have Laughing Boy. Any thoughts, big package?

    • Laughing Boy says:

      I’m flattered.

      Look – there are good parts of the bill that will go in a new HCR bill, after this one is de-funded and then completely repealed.

      It’s like the ring in the Lord of The Rings.  Every part of its creation and passage was so corrupt and awful, it poisons all who have embraced it, and it just needs to be thrown in the lava and destroyed totally, so we can enact actual bi-partisan hcr.

      For imagery, just think of Pelosi carrying that gavel right after they hoodwinked 20 pro-life Dems (15 of which are jobless, come January) into signing off on the bill…”My precious….my PRECIOUS!!!”

      How’s that?  I’m trying not to let you down by giving too moderate of an answer…

        • The way the bill is structured, there’s very little in the way of funding that the GOP can touch even indirectly (i.e. through spending shutdowns).  There would have to be a bill to directly repeal HCR in order to decouple the funding from the reform process, and that’s not going to happen in a divided Congress with a Democratic President who has staked a significant part of his first two years in office on reform.

      • ardy39 says:

        This is an apt description:

        Every part of its creation and passage was so corrupt and awful, it poisons all who have embraced it, and it just needs to be thrown in the lava and destroyed totally …


      • dukeco1 says:

        Every part of its creation and passage was so corrupt and awful, it poisons all who have embraced it, and it just needs to be thrown in the lava and destroyed totally,

        Seriously, could you elaborate bit on this

        Every part of its creation and passage was so corrupt and awful

        and tell us just what made it different and more awful and corrupt than just about every other piece of legislation coming out of Congress.

        and this gem

        so we can enact actual bi-partisan hcr.

        That’s less likely than the Broncos winning the Superbowl this year. The election is over LB. Unless you are, like Mitch McConnell, solely devoted to depriving the nation of a second Obama term, how about we stow the Rovianspeak and talk about real shit. Don’t be an epistomophobic.  

      • parsingreality says:

        The Dems listened.

        The Pubs voted “NO!” despite inclusion of things they wanted.

        The only thing corrupt about HCR is the stance of the Republican Party.  They don’t give a damn about Americans, only their power.

        They will never come up with anything better.

      • ClubTwitty says:

        OK, I know your side thinks Obama is Mao, Pol Pot, and the Anti-Christ, but Sauron is a new one for me.  

        One bill to corral to peeps, IRS agents to find them

        One bill to bring them all, confiscate and fine them

        In the Land of Obama where the Shadows lie.

      • jpsandscl says:

        against a long list of salient facts, you offer this:

        “It’s like the ring in the Lord of The Rings.  Every part of its creation and passage was so corrupt and awful, it poisons all who have embraced it, and it just needs to be thrown in the lava and destroyed totally, so we can enact actual bi-partisan hcr.”

        Now why don’t you go back to the basement you crawled out from and let the adults finish the job we started.

      • gyrogyrl says:

        I actually don’t think that logistically the Republicans can defund the meat of PPACA, nor is there any practical political chance of repeal anytime soon.

        More importantly, R’s can’t afford to repeal PPACA, because it REDUCES THE DEFICIT by $142 billion in the first 10 years and $1.2 trillion in the second 10 years.  R’s would have to find this money in the federal budget.  Good luck with that.

        • But given the current talk about extending tax cuts on the top tax bracket, I don’t think the House Republican majority is terribly concerned about PAYGO or the deficit – they really haven’t learned much from their last stint in power.

  6. Diogenesdemar says:

    The GOPers and the Baggers haven’t been, aren’t now, and won’t ever be swayed by pesky facts and other inconvenient truths.

    What this country needs is to reapeal Obamacare now — get on board with the NICE-DLB revolution or get out of the way!

    (No Insurance Company Executive Donor Left Behind)

    • BlueCat says:

      that ship has sailed. We already have it, unless we start turning people away from the ER. Sure it’s a lousy universal system and costs two or three times more than a sensible one would. So the only question is, do we really want to hang on to the most deficient and most expensive universal healthcare system in the civilized world? The GOP answer is a resounding “You betcha!” Because to do anything else would be evil and socialist.  Just don’t touch their medicare.  

      Like the rest of their agenda, it all makes sense as long as you absolutely refuse to so much as look at reality. The Big Fat Idiot and friends will always be there for you, helpfully blocking the view.

      • dmindgo says:

        over the last two years, I’ve never heard anyone point out that we DO have universal health care, it’s just stupid.

        I’m going to keep repeating this.  thanks.

        • BlueCat says:

          The only way we would not have a universal healthcare system would be if we, for instance, let the children of the uninsured die in the streets outside ERs while telling them “Sorry. If Mom and Dad can’t pay you’re toast.” I don’t understand why this isn’t so obvious that Dem pols can’t just tell people we’re all paying to cover everybody as it is.  Why not do it in a way that saves us all money and gets better results.  

          You know.  Like the rest of the civilized world does. Public health care makes even more sense than public education since access to healthcare is necessary for the “life” in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We must already think so since we don’t let people without cash or insurance die in the streets outside of the ER.  At least we try not to. At least I’m not hearing conservatives demanding that.

          As in Rush’s beloved Costa Rica, we can still have extra bells and whistles for those who want to pay for them via a private insurance sector but everybody gets a high quality basic care package. Rush could still pay for any gold plated whatever he might desire.  

          Too bad Dem pols are too cowed by accusations of socialism to embrace a positive, aggressive argument instead of either pleading that what they want really isn’t so un-American and commie as people are saying or swearing allegiance to the over priced, barbaric system we have now (Blue Dogs).  Of course it goes over like a lead balloon with the public who reject their watered down plan, either because they buy the rightie spin or because they don’t think the Dems’ plans go far enough to solve the real problem and lower costs.  It’s hard for supporters to enthusiastically support something that falls so far short while it’s easy for the good old rightie spin machine to gin up opposition to any meaningful reform with the usual fear tactics.  And so it goes.

  7. dmindgo says:

    Obviously, we need tort reform.  Any other answer does not have truthiness and is socialist.

    • Laughing Boy says:

      It has to be part of the discussion if you want true reform.

      • dmindgo says:

        you do know that we did it here in Colorado?

        • Laughing Boy says:

          It has to be done at the federal level, damn the trial lawyers.

          • ardy39 says:

            I never understood what Republicans have against cake?

          • PERA hopeful says:

            Colorado passed tort reform in the 1980s.  It hasn’t reduced health care costs a penny, either compared to pre-tort reform or to other states that haven’t passed tort reform.  What exactly is it that you think tort reform will do to reduce health care costs?

            If your answer is that it will reduce the perception that doctors need to practice defensive medicine by ordering expensive diagnostic procedures with dubious worth, then there’s an easier answer: don’t allow doctors to make money off of unnecessary tests and procedures.  Read this article about McAllen, TX, the city with the highest health-care costs in the country:

            “Come on,” the general surgeon finally said. “We all know these arguments are bullshit. There is overutilization here, pure and simple.” Doctors, he said, were racking up charges with extra tests, services, and procedures.

            The surgeon came to McAllen in the mid-nineties, and since then, he said, “the way to practice medicine has changed completely. Before, it was about how to do a good job. Now it is about ‘How much will you benefit?’ “

            The reporter consulted experts to determine whether overuse of medical care was the problem in McAllen.

            The answer was yes. Compared with patients in El Paso and nationwide, patients in McAllen got more of pretty much everything….  The primary cause of McAllen’s extreme costs was, very simply, the across-the-board overuse of medicine.

            Many doctors just treat their patients and don’t base treatment decisions on the profitability of the procedures.  However,

            [T]here are the physicians who see their practice primarily as a revenue stream. They instruct their secretary to have patients who call with follow-up questions schedule an appointment, because insurers don’t pay for phone calls, only office visits. They consider providing Botox injections for cash. They take a Doppler ultrasound course, buy a machine, and start doing their patients’ scans themselves, so that the insurance payments go to them rather than to the hospital. They figure out ways to increase their high-margin work and decrease their low-margin work. This is a business, after all.


            About fifteen years ago, it seems, something began to change in McAllen. A few leaders of local institutions took profit growth to be a legitimate ethic in the practice of medicine. Not all the doctors accepted this. But they failed to discourage those who did. So here, along the banks of the Rio Grande, in the Square Dance Capital of the World, a medical community came to treat patients the way subprime-mortgage lenders treated home buyers: as profit centers.


            The article contrasts McAllen with, among other locations, Grand Junction.  Junction has one of the lowest medical costs and one of the highest quality-of-care scores.  The reason has nothing to do with tort reform; the doctors there banded together to create an accountability-based medical system.

            Really interesting article.  It relies on research and good reporting, not partisan rhetoric, and doesn’t much support these tort-reform talking points.

            • dukeco1 says:

              from his response to my question above, this sort of info means nothing to LB. To him it’s just a rich vs. poor, class warfare thing.

              Just another example of “wealth redistribution” in the wrong direction, eh, LB?

    • parsingreality says:

      As usual, you are wrong.

      Any other answer does not have truthiness and is socialist.

      How about the truth that 2% of the national health care cost is due to legal actions?  For you to declare this fact does not have “truthiness” and is “socialist” only reveals your knee jerk, illogical, inaccurate, and “untruthiness”.

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