- - Thursday, June 5, 2014

Coloradans can expect bad news Friday. Depending on where they live, their health insurance premiums are going up.

Obamacare regulations require insurance companies to report their rates to the government according to a set schedule. It’s part of the process set up to enable the Department of Health and Human Services to decide which prices are acceptable and which are not. There has been sticker shock already in some states.

In Vermont, the rate increases announced Monday range from 9.8 percent to 18.3 percent. Kentuckians will pay up to 17 percent more in 2015, and in Virginia rates will rise as much as 22 percent. These increases are the direct result of the Obamacare scheme to make health care “more affordable,” and the increases could have a considerable impact on the November congressional elections.

In Colorado, Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat, faces a tough battle to retain his seat against Rep. Cory Gardner, who has been reminding residents that without Mr. Udall’s vote, Obamacare couldn’t have been enacted and 335,000 Coloradans could have kept the health insurance they liked. Mr. Gardner, a Republican, will appreciate the extra ammunition from the announcements of how much more residents will pay for their “more affordable” health care.

The Obama administration is trying to cook the books to help Mr. Udall. Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services allowed the Colorado Division of Insurance to shift from 11 geographic rating areas for health insurance to nine for 2015. Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar guesses that rates might fall in resort counties, where a small percentage of the population lives, and rise everywhere else. That’s what passes for success in Obamaworld.

Americans for Prosperity is running television commercials in Colorado to highlight health care policy gone wrong. “The consequences of Obamacare are clear,” says Dustin Zvonek, the group’s Colorado director. “Coloradans and taxpayers across the country have had their policies canceled, they are facing rising premiums, and losing access to their doctors despite promises to the contrary.”

When Democrats pushed the 900-page health care bill through Congress on purely partisan lines, they didn’t think much about the impact of the mandates. Existing ailments must be covered. Parents must pay for 26-year-old “children” on their policies. Men must be insured against the risk of becoming pregnant. All policies must include birth-control devices and abortion, regardless of moral objections of the policyholder or insurance provider. Obamacare even limits how much the elderly, who use most health care services, can pay, as compared with the young, who don’t need to visit a doctor as often.

Only a dreamer would think that imposing such restrictions, regulations and red tape would make medicine less expensive. In recent interviews, Mr. Udall stands by his vote for Obamacare, but he has time to think again before the campaign is in full swing. The RealClearPolitics polling average has Mr. Udall at 44 percent against Mr. Gardner’s 42 percent.

Mr. Udall is in a better position than his North Carolina colleague, Sen. Kay Hagan. Her bad news comes on Oct. 1, just as campaign begins in earnest. Mrs. Hagan, who voted for Obamacare, too, trails her Republican opponent, Thom Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina House. Trying to explain her vote for more expensive doctor visits, pricier prescriptions and limited options will make her as miserable as dealing with a January head cold.

The state-by-state drip, drip, drip of bad news for Democratic candidates can be good news for the rest of us if it encourages voters to shake up Washington. The shake-up starts with getting the government out of health care.

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