Friday, May 24, 2013

Obamacare, it's lowering costs

There was some article going around a week or so ago where one of the big health insurers was claiming rates would rise by something like 384% because of Obamacare. Which unsurprisingly turns out to be pure bullcrap. The news out of California, our biggest state with some 7.1 million uninsured residents, is rates are going to be significantly lower than even neutral observers had predicted.

I couldn't access the original New Republic piece. Apparently you need to be a subscriber now to read it, but Ed Kilgore has a good summary:
Based on the premiums that insurers have submitted for final regulatory approval, the majority of Californians buying coverage on the state’s new insurance exchange will be paying less—in many cases, far less—than they would pay for equivalent coverage today. And while a minority will still end up writing bigger premium checks than they do now, even they won’t be paying outrageous amounts. Meanwhile, all of these consumers will have access to the kind of comprehensive benefits that are frequently unavailable today, at any price, because of the way insurers try to avoid the old and the sick.
Ed has the numbers and a policy that was expected to cost $450 a month will actually be $300 and that's before the government subsidies kick in. For healthy 20 years old, the subsidies will completely cover a bare bones policy and a single individual making under $45k a year, estimated to be about 12% of the population, will get generous subsidies as well finally making health care affordable for just about everybody. And this is even with major insurers opting out of the exchanges.

And it's not just in California. Obamacare is lowering rates in other states too because, competition.
We've see this happen in other states. Earlier this month, rate proposals released by insurance companies in Washington state showed some people's premiums would actually go down. Premera Blue Cross had estimated that premiums would rise about 50 percent to 70 percent. When Oregon released proposed health care premiums online in May, two insurers requested the chance to adjust their rates — to make them lower. Why is this happening? "The premiums and participation in California, Oregon, Washington and other states show that insurers want to compete for the new enrollees in this market," the Kaiser Family Foundation's Gary Claxton told The New Republic. The glories of the free market.
This is why the GOPers keep trying to repeal it. Their greatest fear is it will succeed and prove the reformers, and Obama, were right.

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