The Corner

Obamacare Is Driving Costs Down?

“Already, the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health-care costs,” President Obama said during tonight’s State of the Union address.

Well, not exactly.

The Congressional Budget Office projects that health-care spending will grow rapidly when provisions of the Affordable Care Act are fully implemented by mid-decade, reaching 6.2 percent of GDP in 2023.

Health-care premiums have already increased by more than $3,000 on average, (Obama promised the law would reduce premium costs by $2,500), a figure expected to get worse in coming years once major provisions of the law go into effect.

At the end of 2012, Mark Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna, the third-largest health insurer in the country, warned that many consumers would face “premium rate shock” with the advent of Obamacare’s major insurance regulations in 2014. He predicted that unsubsidized premiums would rise 20 to 50 percent, on average.

For some people, premiums would double. “We’re going to see some markets go up as much as 100 percent,” Bertolini told Bloomberg News.

For young Americans, premiums could increase by nearly 190 percent, according to a survey by the American Action Forum.

Furthermore, the Treasury Department, which recently released its annual Financial Report of the U.S. Government, estimated that even under Obamacare’s most favorable assumptions, health-care costs will continue to rise over the coming decades, adding trillions to the federal budget deficit:

Increased spending for Social Security and health programs due to continued aging of the population and anticipated rising health costs is expected to cause the primary deficit-to-GDP ratio to steadily deteriorate. . . . There is uncertainty about the effectiveness of the ACA’s provisions designed to reduce health care cost growth. Even if those provisions work as intended and as assumed in these projections, Chart 5 still shows a persistent gap between projected receipts and total non-interest spending.

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...