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ACA Supporters Bask in the Glow of an Obamacare Victory


California has released its first official numbers about the monthly premiums state residents will face under Obamacare, and they’re lower than anyone expected. The consulting firm Milliman, for example, estimated that middle-tier plans would, on average, cost Californians $450 per month without a subsidy. The state’s new numbers put that same plan at $276 per month pre-subsidy. It’s particularly impressive that, with the subsidies taken into account, young Californians will pay about the same—or even less—than their older counterparts.

After suffering through months of continuous “rate shock” predictions, Obamacare supporters are relieved by the news. Ezra Klein was particularly jubilant. In a recent post, Klein made a good point about why California’s rates are more important than those of other states for the wider discussion over the ACA:

California is a particularly important test for Obamacare. It’s not just the largest state in the nation. It’s also one of the states most committed to implementing Obamacare effectively. Under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — remember how that really happened? — California was the first state to begin building its insurance exchanges. The state’s outreach efforts are unparalleled. Its insurance regulators are working hard to bring in good plans and make sure they’re playing fair. If California can’t make the law work, perhaps no one can. But if California can make the law work, it shows that others can, too.

Obamacare is as much a story about the future of the Democratic Party as it is a story about the future of US health care. Democrats have been nervous for some time now about the impact Obamacare will have on their reelection prospects. These numbers will give them some breathing room. We wouldn’t be surprised to hear champagne corks popping all over Capitol Hill today.

But it’s important to remember that we won’t know for a while which way Obamacare will break. It still has many stages of implementation to go through, and at this point predictions of its  success are as premature as predictions of its failure. As we get closer to the major deadlines—especially January 1st, 2014, when several provisions will go into effect—the on-the-ground impact of Obamacare will become clearer. We’ll be watching.

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  • Anthony

    I am confused about ACA: its implementation, provisions, funding, exchanges, medical access, and coverages. Summary please.

    • Jim Luebke

      Welcome to the club, Anthony.

      I don’t think anyone can summarize that multi-thousand-page monstrosity.

  • jeburke

    I truly hope matters turn out this way. However, I must point out that this is a press release, not an “Obamacare victory.” Having played a part in issuing blizzards of press releases, including many for government agencies and politicians, I’d be cautious about calling “victory.” These are estimates of what may be a year from now. Don’t be surprised if the premiums on actual policies issued turn out to be higher.

  • Corlyss

    Next week’s headlines: Milliman report fraudulent.

  • ojfl

    But that does not mean this is cheaper. We have to have in mind that the cheaper plans currently in existence will disappear. Also the plans that will be offered are currently higher than equivalent plans. So they may be claiming victory but the total expenditure will increase from day one.

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