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ObamaCare: Oregon's horror story

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Sunday, June 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Oregon's upcoming ObamaCare “exchange” for people lacking employer-based health insurance will fall victim to the same sort of “death spiral” as California's — and for the same reasons inherent in the deceptively named Affordable Care Act.

The National Center for Public Policy Research's David Hogberg, a Ph.D. who previously analyzed California's exchange, says 2014's average “Cover Oregon” monthly premium will cost 66 percent more than individual plans do now — and even the average monthly premium for a cheaper “Bronze” plan will cost 42 percent more.

As in California, buyers ages 20 to 39 are key to exchange success. But 30-year-old Oregonians earning just under $30,000 annually won't qualify for premium subsidies, and ObamaCare's “guaranteed issue” provision will let such “young invincibles” wait until they're sick to buy insurance.

And with even the cheapest “Cover Oregon” plans costing them far more than ObamaCare's $95 fine in 2014 for being uninsured — and far more even than the $695 fine in 2016 — “they'll have substantial incentives to forgo insurance until they actually need it.”

That means an ever older, sicker and costlier insured “pool” that drives premiums ever higher and young people — and eventually, insurers — out of the exchange.

These state exchanges' inability to deliver what ObamaCare's backers promised is emblematic of how fundamentally flawed the Affordable Care Act is — and why ObamaCare must be scrapped.

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