Obamacare’s Tired, Bogus Proof
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  • wigwag

    Sorry Professor Mead, it’s not Obama’s proof that’s tired and bogus, it’s your post that fulfills those criteria. The data that you say doesn’t exist, does exist for New York. Across the board, the cost of individual coverage has fallen dramatically. The New York Times cited an average decline of about 50 percent for the cost of health care premiums but that’s only an average figure, state wide. In New York City, in many cases the decline is significantly greater than 50 percent. For platinum plans, premiums that cost close to $1,800 per month for individual coverage in 2013 in New York City will fall to around $650 per month for individual coverage in 2014. It’s a stunning achievement and none of it even takes into account the premium subsidies that New Yorkers may be entitled to depending on their income levels.
    Even better, at just the platinum plan level, 19 different plans will be offered in New York City. There will be a similar number of plans offered at the gold, silver and bronze levels. What Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have done is fix the individual health insurance market while introducing the benefits of competition. It’s extraordinary what they have accomplished.
    Of course, Romney-Obama Care has many flaws; it is hardly a cure-all. There are many better options out there. The problem is that none of the other options were politically feasible while Romney-Obama Care was. Perhaps if the GOP were more interested in solutions and less interested in protecting insurance companies an even better plan could have been developed. It is also good that Congressional Democrats didn’t succeed in substituting one stinking intermediary, (the Government) for the lousy ones already in place (the insurance companies).
    We already see that Romney-Obama Care is failing in some areas; but in others, especially in fixing the market for individual insurance, it is succeeding beyond the wildest dreams of its architects. If these facts don’t jibe conveniently with your preconceived notions, perhaps it is your preconceived notions that need to be modified, not the inconvenient facts.

    • Andrew Allison

      Oh please! What Prof. Mead wrote was, “This favorable comparison between predicted premiums in 2010 and predicted premiums now has been making the rounds as a huge victory for the ACA since the rates for California came out last month. It was specious then, and it’s specious now. What
      people care about is not whether rates will outperform CBO projections but whether they will be more or less expensive than their current rates.” This statement is absolutely indisputablable.

      Since you chose to bring the New York charade up again, let me remind you that the reductions apply to less than one-tenth of one percent of the insured. You have argued that many more people will self-insure as a result of the lowered premia. That’s a supposition, not a fact, and even if it does, it applies only to the self-insured. In fact, it’s more likely that the healthy among the uninsured will remain uninsured, thereby resulting in less than anticipate revenue and increased costs for the care of the unhealthy who do sign up. Again, time will tell but the fact remains that the trumpeting of a 50% reduction in insurance rates for New York is, at best, disingenuous.

      • wigwag

        “Since you chose to bring the New York charade up again, let me remind you that the reductions apply to less than one-tenth of one percent of the insured.” (Andrew Allison)
        Your statement is factually inaccurate. It is accurate to say that less than one tenth of one percent currently purchase insurance on the individual marketplace. It is impossible to know what percentage will purchase insurance at the new rates.
        What we do know is that as price for a product goes down, demand for a product tends to go up.

        • Andrew Allison

          Wrong. My statement that the reduction only applies to the miniscule percentage who self insure was factually correct. How much that number will increase remains to be seen, and is pure speculation.
          Your closing sentence is a non sequitur. The demand for heathcare, and hence its cost, will increase as a result of ACA

        • Andrew Allison
  • wigwag

    “What people care about is not whether rates will outperform CBO projections but whether they will be more or less expensive than their current rates.” (Walter Russell Mead)

    Professor Mead accuses President Obama of being disingenuous when it is really he who is being disingenuous; either that or Mead is being sloppy. There is actually plenty of evidence in New York State which allows a comparison between health insurance premiums in 2013 (before the health exchanges took effect) and the rates that will be charged for the same plans in 2014.

    The rates vary across the State (New York is large) but here’s a sample of the dramatically lower rates that residents of Manhattan will be offered.

    In 2013, Manhattan residents attempting to purchase health insurance in the individual market had seven plans to chose from. Six of those seven plans will be available again in 2014 at dramatically reduced prices. Here’s the data on monthly premiums for individual policies:

    Aetna Health: 2013-$2,159; 2014- $798.86
    Atlantis Plan: 2013-$1,792.72; 2014-$737.05
    Empire Blue: 2013-$1916.32; 2014-$650.28
    GHI: 2013-$3,318.77; 2014-$852.26
    HIP: 2013-$1,716.21; 2014-$555.61
    Managed Plan:2013-$1,532.28;2014-not avail.
    Oxford: 2013-$2,197.74; 2014-$965.24

    Obviously, the price differentials for the same plans are huge and the reduction in premium costs don’t even account for premium subsidies that are available based on income level. But the advantages offered to New Yorkers by Obama-Romney Care go well beyond that. In 2013, New Yorkers attempting to purchase individual insurance had only seven plans to chose from. In 2014, they will have 77 different plans to chose from offered by 17 different companies.
    Will the major success in fixing the individual marketplace for insurance in New York be recapitulated everywhere? Of course not.
    is it possible that in many jurisdictions Romney-Obama Care will do little to improve the individual insurance market place? Absolutely.
    Is fixing the marketplace for individual insurance only one component to an enormously complicated health care system? Obviously it is.
    Will Romney-Obama Care produce both winners and losers? What modification to a long-standing system doesn’t produce both winners and losers?
    Is Romney-Obama Care a panacea for America’s health care woes? Only an idiot would think that it is and only a fool believes in letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.
    Would some of Professor Mead’s recommendations that he talks about in his blog improve the system? I think they would, but unfortunately most of them are currently politically infeasible because of the ideological blinders worn by both Republicans and Democrats?
    Are Professor Mead’s suggested remedies ready for prime time? Some are, but most aren’t any more ready than solar or wind energy.
    Professor Mead takes pride in being a leading light in the world of new media; he’s even taught a course on blogging at Bard. Why then does he publish a post like this one, devoid of facts and about as nuanced as the information we would expect to get on MSNBC or Fox News?
    We will see if he deigns to tell us.

    • Andrew Allison

      As previously noted, Prof. Mead is factually correct; the costs you quote apply only to a miniscule number of the insured; and if the demand for healthcare increases faster than the insurance premia, costs will increase.

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