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Bitter Pill for Obama: New Study Underlines Unfulfilled Promises of Health Care Law

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation underlines that many of the promises surrounding President Obama’s health care law remain unfulfilled, though the White House argues that change is coming.

Obama and his supporters like then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted passage of the Affordable Care Act would cause health care premiums to drop, but the independent group's findings mirror predictions made by the measure's critics.

The Kaiser study shows family premiums topped $15,000 a year for the first time in 2011, increasing a whopping 9% this year, three times more than the increase the year before. The study says that up to 2% of that increase is because of the health care law’s provisions, such as allowing families to add grown children up to 26 years old to their policies.

So what about that $2,500 in savings the president pledged in 2008? White House deputy chief of staff Nancy-Ann DeParle insists families will see that savings -- by 2019.

"Many of the changes in the Affordable Care Act are starting this year, and in succeeding years," DeParle told ABC News, "and by 2019 we estimate that the average family will save around $2,000."

DeParle said that the "big increases that occurred last year were probably driven by insurance plans overestimating what the impact would be and maybe trying to take some profits upfront before some of the changes in the Affordable Care Act occur.

The Kaiser study also indicates employers are switching plans and shifting costs onto employees. Half of workers in smaller firms now face “deductibles of at least $1,000, including 28 percent facing deductibles of $2,000 or more,” according to the study.

For example, Flora Venture’s new policy increased the deductible employees pay to $5,000.

“What the president promised is that under health care reform, that he would make it more possible for people to have choices in these (health insurance) exchanges,” DeParle said. “And that’s going to be what will help businesses bring costs down. Right now, they’re just struggling. That’s one reason why they’re shifting costs to employees.”

DeParle said that “once health care reform fully takes hold in 2014 and beyond, employers will have more tools and more ability to help bring down costs,” she said, including the new health insurance exchanges.

Before it was passed by Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, critics of the then-bill slammed the 2014 start date as a way to hide the Affordable Care Act's deleterious effects on the economy -- and on Americans -- until after a possible re-election of President Obama.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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