Premiums Likely to Soar Under Obamacare

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2009 9:27 AM CDT
President Barack Obama gestures while delivering remarks during a health care rally, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009, at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md.   (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
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(Newser) – Current health care legislation would require every American to buy health insurance, but would do little or nothing to control the skyrocketing premiums they’d have to pay, the LA Times reports. Versions of the bill try to address the problem indirectly—with a public option in the House bill and nonprofit co-ops in Baucus’s Senate bill—but no one is proposing the direct premium controls states have on other mandated insurances, like auto insurance.

And while skyrocketing premiums could stir the market, boosting competition and reining in costs, that would be a long road. And beyond premiums, neither bill is poised to regulate what doctors, hospitals, and drugmakers could charge, a measure used to control costs overseas. “You can’t restrain premiums unless you restrain medical costs,” said the head of an insurance lobbying group. “So far, members of Congress have been allergic to that.”