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Speaker of the House John Boehner speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC.
Last week, House Republicans tried to have a hearing on the horrors of Obamacare but their witnesses—CEOs of insurance companies—refused to play along and the hearing was a flop, at least for Republicans. One of the themes they were trying to push was that health insurance premiums are going to skyrocket, a premise the executives refused to confirm. That's not going to stop Republicans from pushing that line with every public announcement from an insurer about next year's premiums. But here's what they're not going to talk about: the law protects enrollees from big premium hikes.
But they left out one crucial piece of information: Obamacare is designed to protect enrollees against year-to-year price fluctuations. Warning about higher premiums leaves an impression that people will pay more, and the GOP surely won't hesitate to push that line again whenever news of rising premiums breaks.

But they're not telling the whole story.

About 85 percent of the people who are enrolled in private insurance through the exchanges got subsidies from the federal government—so about 85 percent of the 8 million enrollees won't see a premium hike. And because of the competition on the marketplace, insurers will be keeping an eye on what other companies are doing with premiums, knowing that people will be free to change plans in the next enrollment period. The competition part of the law will see to that. That will help the 15 percent of enrollees who aren't eligible for subsidies, and to an extent the people who signed up outside of the exchanges.

That's just one more overhyped "horror" story from Republicans, one that we'll be hearing regularly until November. Never mind that it's not true, because that surely won't stop them repeating it. But it's going to be awfully inconvenient for them when it doesn't happen. Just like the huge success of 8 million enrollments has been.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed May 14, 2014 at 09:33 AM PDT.

Also republished by Obamacare Saves Lives and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (23+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Wed May 14, 2014 at 09:33:34 AM PDT

  •  I've been telling anyone who would listen... (3+ / 0-)

    basically, spreading the risk for insurers means more money in their pockets. Insurers are the business to make money. If they happen to help sick people, it's okay.

    I'm not serious. Seriously.

    by IB JOHN on Wed May 14, 2014 at 09:46:56 AM PDT

  •  Also, the medical loss ratios should (4+ / 0-)

    hold down any premium increases, because the insurers will have to payout 80-85% of premiums for care.

    Rush — the quivering rage heap who is apparently desperately trying to extinguish any remaining molecule of humanity that might still reside in the Chernobyl-esque Superfund cleanup site that was his soul. -- Jon Stewart

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:07:29 AM PDT

  •  Obamacare, saving lives and treasure every day. (4+ / 0-)

    But there is a real Obamacare horror story, as it adds to the epidemic of ODS with complications of head explosions.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:49:45 AM PDT

  •  The California Insurance Commissioner cannot (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    reject excessive rate increases, but a ballot initiative may pass in November to give that authority to the Commissioner.

    WellPoint Inc. (WLP:US), the second-largest U.S. health insurer, is leading companies that have poured $13.4 million into defeating a ballot initiative that would give California regulators the power to reject increases in health policy premiums.  WellPoint, based in Indianapolis, gave $12.5 million and its Anthem Blue Cross unit gave $270,000 through April 2 to defeat the measure, according to data provided by MapLight, a Berkeley-based nonpartisan research organization. Oakland, California-based Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. also gave $270,000.

    Supporters, led by Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog, have raised $425,521.

    Health insurers stand to lose control over raising rates in the most populous U.S. state at a time of dramatic growth in the customer base.

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Wed May 14, 2014 at 10:56:48 AM PDT

    •  A Jan. 2013 article in the NYT reported (0+ / 0-)

      that when Bill Jones, the California Insurance Commissioner, criticized some rate increases, he stated he could do nothing about them. One of the two health plan regulators in California, the Commissioner said:

      without a federal provision giving all regulators the ability to deny excessive rate increases, some insurance companies can raise rates as much as they did before the law was enacted.

      “This is business as usual,” Mr. Jones said. “It’s a huge loophole in the Affordable Care Act,” he said.

      While Mr. Jones has not yet weighed in on the insurers’ most recent requests, he is pushing for a state law that will give him that authority. Without legislative action, the state can only question the basis for the high rates, sometimes resulting in the insurer withdrawing or modifying the proposed rate increase.The commissioner...said that without a federal provision giving all regulators the ability to deny excessive rate increases, some insurance companies can raise rates as much as they did before the law was enacted. “This is business as usual,” Mr. Jones said. “It’s a huge loophole in the Affordable Care Act,” he said.        

      The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

      by ybruti on Wed May 14, 2014 at 11:11:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Gee I hope that happens. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There are fewer corporation I'd love to see nailed in the balls with the regulation hammer more than WellPoint. Years ago when I had BCBS, I remembered my insurance was decent until they took it over. Then almost every year there were premium increases and/or less they'd cover.

      Finally, I switched insurances because it felt like the execs were holding us upside-down to shake every penny they could out of our pockets. They are exemplary of what's wrong with our healthcare system in America.

  •  Dramatically wrong - about everything (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe from Lowell

    It's not sufficient that reality has come to prove Republicans wrong. Democrats should not simply leave it at that. Instead, Democrats should constantly remind voters and the press of exactly what the GOP said would happen, and how the GOP was wrong. Followed up by the suggestion that, if the GOP was so dramatically wrong about Obamacare, what else are they dramatically wrong about?

  •  But if you live in NC, BCBS OWNS the market (0+ / 0-)

    So forget about competition here. :(

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Wed May 14, 2014 at 05:33:36 PM PDT

  •  Tuesday Faux News was reporting... (0+ / 0-)

    Some shock and awe report that in Colorado they were SCRAMBLING to deal with what happens in 2015 when the Federal money "runs out".  

    The followup was the price increases that people were going to have to figure out how to pay for.  

    The increases?  A proposed $15 / plan surcharge on top of a 1.5% increase in overall price.  

    This of course was all said in a panic with all the energy of it being worse than (Benghazi x Hitler) ^ Socialism.

    I only hear their crap as I walk through the break room to fill my water glass but in those two minutes I feel stupider.

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