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During a hearing yesterday on health insurance premiums, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Ranking Member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said that the new health care law passed last year is already driving up insurance premiums.  He said that Congress should work on lowering health care costs for individuals and small businesses.

“As predicted, the new health law is already driving up health insurance premiums,” said Senator Enzi.  “The authors of the new health care law do not want to acknowledge that the reason premiums are going up is because the law they enacted is driving health care costs up. This result should come as no surprise to anyone.  More than two years ago, the Congressional Budget Office told us that the new health care law was going to increase premiums for individuals and families by 10 to 13 percent.  This equals a $2100 increase for families.”

Senator Enzi noted that the Administration’s Chief Actuary at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a report last week that said that insurance premiums are estimated to increase by 9.4 percent in 2014.  According to the actuary, this increase was 4.4 percent higher than it would have otherwise been, as a result of the new health care law.  Enzi said that giving states or the federal government the authority to deny premium increases will do nothing to address the expensive new benefit mandates, billions of dollars in taxes on drugs and medical devices, and unsustainable cuts to Medicare payments, which were all part of the new health care law, and which all drive up private sector health care costs. 

“We must examine how the specific provisions in the new law are increasing premiums and determine how to replace those provisions with measures that could actually lower costs for individuals and small businesses,” Senator Enzi said.  “We also need to enact provisions that will actually lower health care costs, help employers and allow Americans to keep the plans they want, rather than being forced to buy the plan that a government bureaucrat thinks best meets their needs.”