Buyers, beware: President Barack Obama says his health care overhaul will lower premiums by double digits, but check the fine print…
The [Congressional Budget Office] concluded that premiums for people buying their own coverage would go up by an average of 10 percent to 13 percent, compared with the levels they’d reach without the legislation…
“People are likely to not buy the same low‐value policies they are buying now,” said health economist Len Nichols of George Mason University. “If they did buy the same value plans … the premium would be lower than it is now. This makes the White House statement true. But is it possibly misleading for some people? Sure.”
Nichols’ comments are also misleading — which makes the president’s statement not just misleading but untrue.
Under ObamaCare, people would not have the option to buy the same low‐cost plans they do today. That’s the whole problem: under an individual mandate, everybody must purchase the minimum level of coverage specified by the government. That minimum benefits package would be more expensive than the coverage chosen by most people in the individual market. Their premiums would rise because ObamaCare would take away their right to choose a more economical policy.
Note also that the CBO predicts premiums would rise by an average of 10–13 percent in the individual market. Consumers who currently purchase the most economic policies would see larger premium increases.
Finally, the Obama plan would also force millions of uninsured Americans to purchase health insurance at premiums higher than current‐law premium levels, which they have already rejected as being too high. Their premium expenditures would rise from $0 to thousands of dollars. Yet the CBO counts that implicit tax as reducing average premiums, because those consumers are generally healthier‐than‐average. Only in Washington is a tax counted as a savings.