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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Health care law overwhelming businesses and individuals with costly and confusing regulations.

During the health care debate, Americans were promised this “reform” would lower costs. Instead, costs are rising. Officials — including the chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services — have since acknowledged that because of higher cost estimates, the savings earmarked for Medicare will never materialize.

The law is expected to increase federal health care spending by nearly a half-trillion dollars in the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Private employer health care costs also are rising — in part because of mandates that took effect last fall.

Americans were also told that if they liked their health plan, they could keep it. However, in some states, Medicare Advantage participants are now told their plans will no longer be available because of cost pressures. Similarly, workers banking on employer-based coverage when they retire are being told not to count on it. As premiums rise, owing, in part, to the new mandates, many companies may be forced to consider ending their employer-based plans and moving workers into government-run exchanges.

The health care law is overwhelming businesses and individuals with costly and confusing regulations. In addition to creating 159 new agencies, commissions, panels and other bodies, the law grants extraordinary powers to the Department of Health and Human Services to redefine health care as we know it. Regulators are issuing thousands of pages of rules while allowing little time for public comments — creating tremendous uncertainty among businesses and individuals.

For example, the regulation implementing the administration’s promise that people could keep their plan and doctors if they prefer was published in June, with comments due in mid-August — only to go into effect a little more than 30 days later.

To further exacerbate frustrations, the rule was changed again, two months after it went into effect. Though the amended rule could help plans next year, many had already sacrificed thousands of dollars to comply with the original rule. (Full story here)

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