Death Of A Talking Point

Ken AshfordHealth CareLeave a Comment

The main takeaway from an exhaustive new study of premiums on the Obamacare health insurance marketplaces by nonprofit, nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation: They’re generally going to be lower than expected.

KFF on Obamacare Premiums

I know.  You're not going to read it.  But here's the bottom line:  Marketplaces premiums are coming in below initial estimates.

The expected monthly premium for a 40-year-old adult purchasing a silver-level plan (the baseline, which covers 70 percent of costs) on a marketplace had been $320, according to previous projections from the Congressional Budget Office. But in 15 of the 18 regions studied by Kaiser, the average premium will be below that — thus the study’s conclusion that the prices are going to be lower than anticipated.

“While premiums will vary significantly across the country, they are generally lower than expected,” the authors wrote.

If Kaiser’s estimates bear out, it could be a big blow to one of the main conservative talking points against the Affordable Care Act: rate shock. Everybody from House Republicans to think tank types like the Manhattan Institute’s Avik Roy and the Heritage Foundation have been warning that consumers would see skyrocketing prices under the law.

And to be sure, premiums are going to go up.  But this was known.  That's why health care reform was needed in the first place.  Doing nothing would have made premiums so high that they simply could not be attained.

So much for the "rate shock" Republicans warned us about.