The Corner

In Swing States, Obamacare to Raise Private Insurance Premiums and Drive Doctors out of Medicare

As some of you may know, over at my Forbes blog, I’ve been publishing a series of articles describing how Obamacare specifically affects people in swing states. In particular, I’ve compiled non-partisan studies — some even from an Obama adviser — that describe how the law will increase the cost of individually-purchased insurance, and how its blunt Medicare cuts will drive doctors out of the program. Here are some of the highlights.

In Ohio, a study by the actuarial firm Milliman found that Obamacare will increase individual-market premiums by 55 to 85 percent in 2017, relative to what they would have been under prior law. A survey by the Physicians Foundation found that, if Medicare cuts physician fees by another 10 percent, as Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board effectively requires, 30 percent of doctors will place “new or additional limits on Medicare acceptance,” with 24 percent accepting no new Medicare patients altogether.

In Wisconsin, a report by Obama health-care adviser Jonathan Gruber projects that individual-market premiums will increase by 30 percent in 2016 relative to prior law. The Physicians Foundation survey, which polled physicians in every state, found that 27 percent of Wisconsin physicians would limit Medicare access under a fee cut, with 22 percent cutting off new Medicare patients.

In Colorado, Gruber projected individual-market premium increases of 19 percent by 2016. Twenty-nine percent of physicians plan to limit Medicare access, with 29 percent also saying they will stop accepting new retirees.

In Minnesota, Gruber projected individual-market premium increases of 29 percent by 2016, with 25 percent of physicians limiting Medicare access and 19 percent saying they will stop accepting new Medicare patients completely. Minnesotans will be particularly hard hit by Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare Advantage, as 47 percent of Minnesota seniors are enrolled in the program, compared to the national average of 27 percent.

In Nevada, a study by Gorman Actuarial found that individual-market premiums will increase by 11 to 30 percent by 2016. A notably high 44 percent of Nevada physicians say they will place limits on Medicare acceptance, with 24 percent saying they will stop taking any new Medicare patients.

In Florida, 30 percent of doctors say they will limit Medicare access and 27 percent say they will stop accepting new patients. Twenty-eight percent of doctors in Virginia say they will limit access, with 23 percent ceasing acceptance of new patients. In New Hampshire, the percentages are 25 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

The detailed data is at the blog. I’ll probably do two more states before hanging it up.

UPDATE: I’ve published three more state analyses, of Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

— Avik Roy is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author of The Apothecary, the Forbes blog on health-care and entitlement reform. He is a member of Mitt Romney’s Health Care Policy Advisory Group. You can follow him on Twitter at @aviksaroy.

Avik Roy is the President of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP.org), a non-partisan, non-profit think tank.

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