The Health Care Law Needs a Dose of Jiminy Cricket
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Like that wooden puppet who dreams of becoming a boy, President Obama dreams that his health care law will someday be loved. On a recent campaign stop, he tried very hard to make it even more appealing, suggesting that thanks to his health care law, health insurance premiums for people in the individual and small group markets will in fact go down.
But Washington Post’s Fact Checker team has checked those claims and, not surprisingly, they found that they did not add up. In fact, they gave Obama’s comments three out of four “Pinocchios.” (Three means: “Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.” Four means: “Whoppers.”)
The Fact Checker’s Glenn Kessler briefly outlines the various mandates that experts believe will put upward pressure on premiums and sums it up thusly:
“But the bad news is that, on average, premiums almost certainly will go up — with some people really getting hit with increases.”
As Kessler puts it, while more people will be covered under the new law, “you usually don’t get something for nothing.”
We don’t have to just rely on The Fact Checker’s word. There is plenty of evidence at the state level to suggest that insurance premiums will not magically shrink under the health care law, but instead, will actually go up. By a lot.
- A nationwide study conducted by Milliman Inc. for the Society of Actuaries found that premiums in the individual market would increase from 8 to 37 percent in 2014 — with a cumulative increase of as much as 122 percent between 2013 and 2017.
- Indiana determined the law would boost premiums in the individual market on average by 75 to 95 percent and in the small employer market by 5-10 percent in 2014.
- Ohio found rates would go up 55 to 85 percent above current rates, before tax credits.
- Minnesota concluded that individual market premiums will increase between 26 to 42 percent
- Maine said individual premiums will increase on average by 40 percent and premiums in the small group market are likely to increase 8 to 9 percent. About 20 percent of the individual market would still experience premium increases even after subsidies.
- Maryland concluded individual premiums will go up on average by 34 to 36 percent and in the small employer market on average by 2 percent
- Wisconsin found that before tax credits, the average premium increase in the individual market will be 30 percent.
- Colorado said individual premiums will go up on average 19 percent.
- Rhode Island found that before tax subsidies, premiums for individuals will increase on average by 8 percent.
Employers, that always practical group of realists, also don’t believe in Blue Fairies or magically shrinking health care premiums. In a survey by the Mercer consulting firm, more than 60 percent of employers in a new survey anticipate some increase in their health benefit costs due to the health care law. The survey of 1,203 employers found that 20 percent of those businesses expect an increase of 5 percent or more.
When it comes to the new health care law, (to quote Pinocchio’s Blue Fairy),“a lie will keep growing and growing, until it’s as plain as the nose on your face.”