The White House is happily declaring that the premiums are “lower than expected.” And multiple news reports on the numbers are following suit, running headlines on the “lower than expected” premiums coming under Obamacare.
But “lower than expected” is, of course, not the same as lower than they are currently. That’s not the comparison the administration wants to make. “Because of the Affordable Care Act, the health insurance that people will be buying will actually cover them in the case of them getting sick. It doesn’t make sense to compare just the number the person was paying, you have to compare the value people are getting,” HHS official Cohen told the Journal. Accordingly, there are no comparisons in the report to current premiums. All that lower than expected really means, then, is that premiums won’t go up as much as the Congressional Budget Office initially estimated.
But surely today’s bare-bones health insurance premiums give an individual far, far less care than even a bronze-level Obamacare policy. It really is apples-to-oranges. And, of course, that’s counting those young people who already have bare-bones insurance, while so many have none at all. And aren’t the subsidies going to make them affordable? Avik Roy claims not:
Remember that nearly two-thirds of the uninsured are under the age of 40. And that young and healthy people are essential to Obamacare; unless these individuals are willing to pay more for health insurance to subsidize everyone else, the exchanges will not serve the goal of providing coverage to the uninsured.
Costs are lower than expected — not lower than they were. They’re way higher than Obama promised: Families were supposed to save $2,500 in premiums, you may recall.
The White House’s response to these types of complaints:
White House spokesman Jay Carney said [yesterday] that contrasting insurance premiums before and after Obamacare is not an “apples-to-apples” comparison. Why? Because “it’s an apple full of worms compared to an apple that’s fresh and delicious,” he said, referring to the mandated benefits and guarantees attached to post-Obamacare plans.
Methinks he needs a better analogy. And the Obama administration needs much better messaging, or the Party of Sabotage will strike again to prevent any attempt at universal coverage at all.