WABE enthusiastically reports on a press release from HHS saying health insurance premiums will be “lower than earlier forecast.”
According to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Georgia’s average premium for a mid-level “silver” plan will be $304 a month. A bronze plan will average $265. Those numbers represent a mean average for all ages in all regions, before federal subsidies kick in.
This report set off celebrations across the left side of the Twitterverse and at the Georgia Democratic HQ.
However, as Avik Roy reports in Forbes…
HHS compared what the Congressional Budget Office projected rates might look like—in 2016—to its own findings. Neither of those numbers tells you the stat that really matters: how much rates will go up next year, under Obamacare, relative to this year, prior to the law taking effect.
Former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin agrees. “There are literally no comparisons to current rates. That is, HHS has chosen to dodge the question of whose rates are going up, and how much. Instead they try to distract with a comparison to a hypothetical number that has nothing to do with the actual experience of real people.”
Forbes has a map showing changes in premiums across the nation, indicating an average increase of 24% for those purchasing insurance on their own (the people the exchanges are designed to help). The data comes from actual premiums compared to prior year premiums.
Of course people will immediately point out that health insurance rates were increasing prior to Obamacare. This is indeed true, and points to the need for real reform, not a massive regime with all the unintended consequences we’re seeing now. Additionally, proponents of the ACA have long said premiums would come down and clearly that isn’t true.
So if premiums are going up not down, and some are uninsured because they can not afford health insurance at current rates, explain to me how this new law helps solve the problem?