From the nonpartisan, nonprofit Factcheck.org:
The Truth About Health Insurance Premiums
The new law has brought increases for some. But GOP leaders exaggerate.
November 19, 2010
Leading Republicans in Congress are blaming the new health care law for double-digit rate increases being sought by insurance companies in Washington state, New York and Connecticut. But insurance regulators, leading health care experts and the companies themselves mostly blame an old culprit: rising medical costs.
Improved benefits required by the new law are responsible for a relatively small portion of the increases. Furthermore, the increases apply mostly to those buying policies individually, not the majority who get private insurance through employers. Those with employer-provided plans won’t see as much of an increase in premiums, since many of their policies already include the required benefits, a spokesman for an insurance trade association told us.
Some Republicans have claimed the law is responsible for “whopping” premium increases, but they have misrepresented the facts in the process. For example:
- House Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner said premiums will “skyrocket” because of the law, citing a report on rising premiums by the Kaiser Family Foundation. But the Kaiser report covered increases that took effect before the law was signed.
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell points to a news story about a Washington insurance provider that blamed premium increases on the health care law. But the state insurance commissioner says the increase had “absolutely nothing to do with health care reform,” and the insurance company later admitted the law is only partly at fault.
- Both politicians refer to premiums for new plans on the individual market, where only about 6 percent of those with insurance now get their coverage.
Stories about some big increases may come as a shock to those who recall President Barack Obama’s often-repeated promise that the new law would reduce most people’s premiums and bring about lower medical costs — optimistic promises that remain question marks at this point. Still, Republicans go too far when they say the law, rather than rising medical costs, is chiefly responsible for big premium hikes.
Filed under: Understanding The New Law | Tagged: ACA, Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama, exaggeration, fact, Factcheck.org, fiction, GOP, Health Care Reform, health insurance premiums, improved benefits, insurance regulators, John Boehner, Kaiser Family Foundation, Mitch McConnell | Leave a Comment »