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The NYT’s Free Lunch Health Care Reporting

Celebrating the six-month anniversary of President Barack Obama’s health care law, The New York Times Kevin Sack writes:

Starting now, insurance companies will no longer be permitted to exclude children because of pre-existing health conditions, which the White House said could enable 72,000 uninsured to gain coverage. Insurers also will be prohibited from imposing lifetime limits on benefits.

The law will now forbid insurers to drop sick and costly customers after discovering technical mistakes on applications. It requires that they offer coverage to children under 26 on their parents’ policies.

It establishes a menu of preventive procedures, like colonoscopies, mammograms and immunizations, that must be covered without co-payments. And it allows consumers who join a new plan to keep their own doctors and to appeal insurance company reimbursement decisions to a third party.

At no point does Sack report how health sector has responded to these new price controls. Specifically some insurers have exited the child health insurance market entirely, other insurers have discontinued their high deductible health plans, colleges have announced that they can no longer cover their students, ER waiting times are longer, and millions of Americans will be forced to abandon their flexible savings (FSA) and health savings (HSA) accounts.

Sack does report that the Obama administration did anticipate that Americans health insurance premiums would rise due to all of the new mandates and regulations. But Sack only reports the administration’s 2% estimate. This is the same administration that promised that their $814 billion stimulus would keep unemployment below 8%. Their health insurance premium estimates are proving to be just as completely inaccurate. Specifically, major health insurers like Aetna Inc., BlueCross BlueShield, and Health Net Inc. have already raised premiums between 9% and 16%.

The New York Times is free to report on all the benefits Obamacare will bring, but they might want to acknowledge their costs too.