When Congress passed another healthcare plan designed to “help” the American people it had widespread implications. The bill has thousands of pages of not just law, but also regulations written after the bill was passed.
One of the programs within the bill for the HHS(Health & Human Services) agency to begin implementing right away was a “High Risk Pool” for people with already pre-existing conditions. I have been following this program for awhile now in the press. Here is the short version of what the program was created to do. Five Billion dollars was set aside to assist people with already pre-existing conditions until the full bill was implemented. Projections were to sign up anywhere from 350,000-500,000 people. Now the stats are out and should give many pause in seeing how costs of the total health care program will affect the United States government overall spending of this bill down the road.
Investors.com reported on April 10,2013:
ObamaCare funded the PCIP with $5 billion to cover patients with pre-existing conditions from 2010 to 2014. Less than a third of the people HHS projected would enroll in the plan actually signed up for the coverage. Yet despite the low enrollment, the plan is broke. In fact, it started running out of money at the beginning of this year, which means it busted its budget a full year ahead of projections. In a 2012 report, HHS conceded that it had miscalculated (though not until page 11 of its 15-page report): “On average, the PCIP program has experienced claims costs 2.5 times higher than anticipated.”
So what were the estimated numbers in 2010 for this one small program within the bigger healthcare plan? Here is a breakdown from the Heritage Foundation:
In 2010, the Obama Administration estimated that 375,000 people would enroll in the PCIP. But as of January 2013, over two-and-a-half years since the plan began, only 107,139 were enrolled—less than 29 percent of original projections.
Not only did costs skyrocket, but major changes to the program recipients as well:
In addition to suspending enrollment, CMS made major benefit adjustments in an effort to control program costs—mainly by increasing enrollee cost-sharing requirements. These changes included the consolidation of three plan options into one, increased co-insurance, and increased maximums for out-of-pocket costs (a 56 percent increase for in-network services and a 42 percent increase for out-of-network services).
This is not unexpected. History is filled with facts to teach us present day Americans about the fallacy of “Government Healthcare Programs” but we always choose the divine providence of “The Government” when it comes to social experiments. In the same article quoted above, they also had this historical data to show us the coming cost explosion from previous healthcare experiments:
In 1965, the Johnson administration figured Medicare would cost $12 billion by 1990. Its actual cost was $110 billion. Now it’s almost $600 billion and climbing.
Washingtontimes.com had these historical numbers on November 18,2009:
In 1965, the House Ways and Means Committee estimated that the hospital insurance program of Medicare – the federal health care program for the elderly and disabled – would cost $9 billion by 1990. The actual cost that year was $67 billion. In 1967, the House Ways and Means Committee said the entire Medicare program would cost $12 billion in 1990. The actual cost in 1990 was $98 billion.
Once 2014 kicks in which is full implementation of the law itself, we unfortunately will be on the side of waiting to see costs explode. Not only that aspect, but HHS will probably start changing rules once people have signed contracts for health insurance. Constantly changing rules is part of having “Centrally Planned” programs by the government.
Like I said, we unfortunately will have to wait and see.