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Policy: Health Care

Will health insurance rates go way up even in Wash. state?

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Beltway Confidential,Health,Michael Barone,Washington,Health Care,Analysis

More evidence that health insurance rates are going to go way up comes from Avik Roy of the Manhattan Institute in his the Apothecary column in forbes.com. Roy and two associates looked at likely insurance rates in Washington state, which has had health insurance regulations which work much like Obamacare. Even so, his findings are that health insurance rates in the individual market will rise abruptly there–and not only for young people, but also for the relately old (those age 64, one year short of qualifying for Medicare). Interesting tidbit: The increases are greater in western Washington, west of the Cascade Mountains, which includes most of the state’s population and votes heavily Democratic.

At the end of his column he also takes a poke at Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s idea of what insurance should be, similar to a point I made in a May Washington Examiner column.

“Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius routinely expresses contempt for high-deductible insurance. ‘Some of these folks have very high catastrophic plans that don’t pay for anything unless you get hit by a bus,’ she once said incredulously. ‘They’re really mortgage protection, not health insurance.’ As Megan McArdle observes, this only goes to illustrate that Sebelius is ‘sincerely confused about the difference between insurance and prepayment. Which explains a lot about the new health law.’”

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Michael Barone

Senior Political Analyst
The Washington Examiner