The Democratic National Committee has launched a new Obamacare publicity campaign with a neat but misleading infographic meant to show that the ACA is working. Two of the graphic’s claims bear closer examination. First, it says that, in every state with approved ACA premium rates, we’re seeing lower premiums. Given that only 13 states have so far submitted rates, and most of these are blue states that already have Obamacare-like provisions in place, this doesn’t tell us that much.
But even that simple statement is problematic. It’s true of course that some premiums for some people will go down in the 13 states we currently have data on. Nobody denies that, not even as vocal an ACA opponent as Avik Roy. But likewise, nobody denies that premiums in many of the 13 states will go up for some people, not even outspoken Obamacare supporters like Jonathan Cohn. So we are seeing some lower premiums, but we’re also seeing some higher premiums, and the data here is pretty variable on a state-by-state basis.
Second, the infographic boasts that 3.1 million young adults have kept health insurance by staying on their parents’ plans. This may be good news for those millions of people, but it could wind up being very bad news for Obamacare itself: the more 20-somethings who stay on their parents’ plans, the fewer 20-somethings there will be to sign up for plans on the exchanges. Obamacare needs as many young people as possible to use the exchanges. So the DNC is celebrating “successes” that could ultimately undermine the whole law.
Word to the wise: get your Obamacare analysis elsewhere.