Get ready for #obamacare premium increases. Or possibly 'brace for impact.'

Let’s look at these three excerpts from a Hill article on likely Obamacare premium hikes.

  • “The insurance official, who hails from a populous swing state, said his company expects to triple its rates next year on the ObamaCare exchange.”
  • “In Iowa, which hosts the first presidential caucus in the nation and has a competitive Senate race this year, rates are expected to rise 100 percent on the exchange and by double digits on the larger, employer-based market, according to a recent article in the Business Record.”
  • “Jon Gruber, who also helped design the Affordable Care Act, said, “The bottom line is that we just don’t know. Premiums were rising 7 to 10 percent a year before the law. So the question is whether we will see a continuation of that sort of single digit increase, as Sebelius said, or whether it will be larger.””

There was also a quote by David Cutler (referred to as an ‘architect of Obama-care’ in that article; oddly enough, the Hill didn’t mention that he’s also a notorious proponent of the novel, yet laughable, argument that rates really are going to go down by $2,500 per family) about the ‘so-called’ inevitability of health care premium hikes. …Look, I know that the Obama administration has given its apologists very little to work with. I get that. But at the same time nobody’s holding a gun to those apologists’ heads and making them spout this nonsense out. Let’s walk through this.

Let us say that you are employed and have a health care plan from your employer [also: that you are married, and have a family plan – ML]. According to this 2013 Kaiser survey, the average employee plan is $16,351 per year, but you’ll be paying $4,565, so that’s how much you think that your healthcare plan costs. Let’s round that up to $5,000/year, simply to make the numbers easier.

So. According to Jon Gruber and Kathleen Sebelius, your rate would go up by no more than single digits per year. So – even if we define 10% as single digits, which we should not, but let’s assume that the cow is a sphere – that means that you should expect your rates to go up by no more than $500/year, right? …Except that, if you live in Iowa, your rates will be going up by more. Guaranteed. And if you lose your health insurance and want something like your old plan, the exchange will charge you $10,000/year. Which is a better deal than that unnamed swing state exchange, which could hit you with up to $15,000/year.


It is often said that Americans are not particularly numerate – actually, it’s said that we’re math illiterates, but I happen to be fully literate, so I’m going to use the right word – and that may or may not be true. But there is one aspect of math that we all understand instinctively, and it’s defined as ‘having anything to do at all with our checkbooks.’ There is no way that you can convince a voter forced to go to the exchanges that $500 of his or her money is equivalent to $5,000, or $10,000. You can’t even convince them that $500 is equivalent to $600, or $800, or $523.17*. It simply cannot be done.

And if you try… well. There’s a reason why Democrats are starting to concede the Senate and it isn’t even April yet.


Moe Lane (crosspost)

*That last one might even stick in people’s craws most. Well, maybe not as much as $5,000 would, but people can get touchy over the most interesting things.


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