Thanks to former Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak and his group of seven pro-life Democrats, women across their districts face higher insurance premiums today.
In the last three years, median prices increased 19.9 percent for 24-year-old females on average in zip codes among the seven congressional districts. The cheapest plan price spiked an average of 32.3 percent, while the number of plans available dropped by an average of 14.8 percent. For 55-year-old females, median prices climbed 6.3 percent; the least expensive plan saw a 13.7 percent hike; and the numbers of plans available plunged 16.7 percent.
See the numbers by district:
Tomorrow marks the third anniversary of Obamacare, which passed narrowly in the House only after Stupak and six fellow House Democrats struck a deal with the Obama administration on an executive order that was supposed to uphold the pro-life Hyde Amendment and prohibit federal funding from being used for abortions.
Those accompanying Stupak were Representatives Steve Driehaus and Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, Nick Rahall and Alan Mollohan of West Virginia, Pennsylvania’s Kathy Dahlkemper, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana. These seven last-minute hold outs flipped their votes in a dramatic late afternoon press conference on March 21, 2010, paving the way for the passage of the Affordable Care Act later that evening in the House, which Obama signed into law on March 23.
THE WEEKLY STANDARD analyzed health insurance premium prices for individual plans taken from eHealthInsurance.com on March 21, 2010, and compared them with current prices for a 24-year-old female and a 55-year-old female. EHealthInsurance.com provides a fairly comprehensive database of insurance plans available by zip code. The federal government envisions a similar platform for the online health exchanges, although the first iteration remains far from it, and now apparently the goal is just to “make sure it’s not a third-world experience.”
Younger women in all seven districts saw median prices rise, some by as much as 42.8 percent in Driehaus’s district and 37.2 percent in Kaptur’s district, both in Ohio. Older women face higher premiums in four of the districts - the highest being in Kaptur’s district (24.5 percent), followed by Driehaus’s district (23.5 percent). Estimates in Ohio peg premium increases at 55 to 85 percent by 2017.
Even though HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asserted yesterday that consumers are “finally getting a better bang for their buck,” in some cases women are paying more for the same plans. For example, a 55-year-old woman in Stupak’s former district would have paid $450.81 in 2010 for a BlueCross BlueShield “Flexible Blue II 2500” plan. This plan now costs $570.88, a 26.6 percent increase.
Premium increases aside, some in Stupak’s group have since come to realize that the executive order did little to protect pro-life values.
Stupak acquiesced at the Democratic National Convention:
“I am perplexed and disappointed that, having negotiated the Executive Order with the President, not only does the HHS mandate violate the Executive Order but it also violates statutory law.”
As reported previously by THE WEEKLY STANDARD, Dahlkemper said in November 2011:
“I would have never voted for the final version of the bill if I expected the Obama Administration to force Catholic hospitals and Catholic Colleges and Universities to pay for contraception.”
Of the seven Democrats, Kaptur and Rahall still hold their seats in the House, and Donnelly moved up to the Senate in 2012 after a narrow two-point House victory in 2010.
Stupak, Dahlkemper, Mollohan, and Driehaus are no longer in office. Stupak declined to run in 2010, Dahlkemper and Driehaus were defeated, and Mollohan lost his primary. Driehaus proceeded to sue the Susan B. Anthony List, claiming “loss of livelihood” because the pro-life group targeted his Obamacare vote. The suit was dismissed this past January.