Liberal health care, energy policies raise prices in Nevada

Victor Joecks

How liberalism works
Another reminder that ideas have consequences and that liberal ideas have bad consequences.

First, health care prices are rising dramatically.

Premiums for certain types of health insurance have started to escalate more rapidly than in recent years even though very few parts of the new federal health care law have gone into effect.

While some industry observers say it’s too early to predict how broad the impact will be, others fear that the rate hikes hint how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will rearrange the insurance market. …

But local brokers report instances of small groups or individual coverages where premiums have risen in percentages from the mid-teens to the mid-20s, double or more than the average in recent years.

“We are seeing rate increases right now,” independent broker Larry Harrison said. “I think there’s definitely going to be more increases because of the mandates.”

Independent broker Dwight Mazzone said some of his clients were hit with premiums for family coverage topping $1,000 per month, but were able to reduce it to about $800 by soliciting other quotes.

He is advising his clients to budget for 15 percent to 20 percent premium increases.

And energy prices are going up as well.

It’s costing a bundle for local power utility NV Energy to comply with a state law that requires it to buy green energy.

New filings from the company show that it plans to pay 8.6 cents to 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour to buy electricity from seven renewable-power projects included in the 20-year integrated-resource proposal it has pending before the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada.

That price runs two to four times higher than the 4 cents or so per kilowatt hour that the utility paid over the past 18 months for its wholesale power, which comes mostly from natural-gas generation. …

But everyone acknowledges what the contracts show: Green power costs more than its fossil fuel-generated counterparts.

And it’s only going to get worse in the future.

State law requires the utility to obtain 12 percent of its electricity from renewable sources in 2010; NV Energy executives said recently that they expect to surpass that mandate and get 14 percent of their juice from clean sources this year.

The renewable portfolio standard maxes out at 25 percent in 2025.

Oh, and did I mention that liberal legislators are not-so-secretly hoping to pass the largest tax increase in Nevada’s history in 2011?

It’s a wonder liberals “let” us keep any of our money at all. Oh, the generosity.