The ObamaCare sideshows designed to scare and detract people from what is really working may have finally hit a wall. People are just too interested and responsible to let affordable health care pass them by.
From Ezra Klein comes the news that ObamaCare will end up saving the country even more money than once projected.
The White House's biggest frustration right now is that Obamacare's technical failures are obscuring its great success: Premiums are much lower than the Congressional Budget Office estimated when the law first passed. In a new report for the liberal Center for American Progress, Topher Spiro and Jonathan Gruber quantify exactly how much lower.
The Affordable Care Act's insurance marketplaces was projected to be $4,700 in 2014. In fact, it's more like $3,936 -- $764, or 16 percent, lower than expected … the Affordable Care Act will cost $190 billion less than the CBO estimated over the next decade.
That savings will make up for the lost Medicaid expansion savings the CBO assumed would happen in the original law that included every state.
Individual Market: It can’t be stressed enough about what ObamaCare is really dealing with here; 10 percent of the country. That’s not a lot of people, but it is the most costly area of the health care market.
"Individual market," … So we're talking about insurance premiums for a small minority of the population. But it's still millions of people.
Prior to the Affordable Care Act, insurance in the individual market kept costs down by turning the away the sick, raising prices on the likely-to-get-sick, and offering, in many cases, pretty stingy benefits. The Affordable Care Act makes individual market insurance both more accessible and more comprehensive.
Get a load of this perfect example of one opponent of ObamaCare who just doesn't get it.
A good example of the tradeoffs is the case of Dianne Barrette, a 56-year-old Florida woman who's been featured in the media because her current plan will cost 10 times more under Obamacare. As Erik Wemple discovered, her old plan was health insurance in name only. It didn't cover inpatient hospital care, it didn't cover ambulance services, and so forth. Under Obamacare, all plans have to cover those benefits. So Barrette's old plan was extremely affordable -- $56 a month -- because it covered basically nothing. Her new plan is much more expensive but also much more generous.
So the bottom line is that Obamacare makes insurance more accessible and more comprehensive, which raises average premiums, but it adds subsidies and competitive markets, which lower premiums.
I thought this important note from Klein bares repeating:
One thing to note about the media coverage around this is that some of the old plans in the individual market are being canceled or moved onto the exchanges at a time when the exchanges aren't really working. So we're hearing from people losing something but we're not hearing much yet from the people who're gaining insurance, or lower-priced insurance, through the law. That's another consequence of the web site's failures, but it's a temporary one. There will be some losers under Obamacare, but because of the subsidies, many more winners.Also at Wonkblog was this reason for inurers dropping their old policies:
From an insurance company's vantage point, grandfathered plans are a bit of a dead end: They can't enroll new subscribers and are really constrained in their ability to tweak the benefit package or cost-sharing structure. The whole idea of the insurance expansion isn't to get Americans to purchase anything called "insurance." It's to get them to purchase a specific kind of insurance, a plan that is relatively comprehensive and helps protect against financial ruin. Of course, not everyone agrees with this; some contend that shoppers should be able to continue buying less robust insurance policies and have the option of taking on more financial risk.