AP fact check: Premiums will rise under ObamaCare

posted at 12:55 pm on March 17, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama has gotten bolder in his sales pitch for ObamaCare over the last couple of weeks.  While earlier he kept his fiscal promises as non-specific as possible, generally talking about “bending cost curves” rather than relating it to individual effects, lately he has pledged that his signature agenda item will lower health-care premiums for Americans.  The Associated Press calls shenanigans today in a fact check:

Buyers, beware: President Barack Obama says his health care overhaul will lower premiums by double digits, but check the fine print.

Premiums are likely to keep going up even if the health care bill passes, experts say. If cost controls work as advertised, annual increases would level off with time. But don’t look for a rollback. Instead, the main reason premiums would be more affordable is that new government tax credits would help cover the cost for millions of people.

Listening to Obama pitch his plan, you might not realize that’s how it works.

Well, listening to Obama pitch his plan, people may not realize how math works.  Obama insisted that his plan would lower premiums by “3,000 percent,” which the White House later adjusted to three thousand dollars. But that’s far off the mark, as the AP informs its readers:

An analysis by the Congressional Budget Office of earlier Senate legislation suggested savings could be fairly modest.

It found that large employers would see premium savings of at most 3 percent compared with what their costs would have been without the legislation. That would be more like a few hundred dollars instead of several thousand. …

The 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. That’s mainly because policies in the individual insurance market would provide more comprehensive benefits than they do today.

The AP misses the point here just a bit, although overall this is a good report.  The insurance policies of the future under ObamaCare would provide more comprehensive benefits, but that’s because ObamaCare would outlaw more modest plans.  The federal mandates of ObamaCare would mean that healthy people would no longer have the choice of low-cost, high-deductible plans that encourage direct spending on routine medical issues, the exact kind of policies that real reform would emphasize.  Obama and the Democrats want to force young, healthy people into committing more money into risk pools in order to keep premium increases down for others — in essence, subsidizing medical care for older, higher-risk pool members.

Obama is flat-out lying about lowering premiums, as the CBO made plain last November.  Not only will premiums continue to increase, they will rise faster under ObamaCare than otherwise, while forcing people into plans they don’t need.  And note that the people who will pay the higher premiums are those who are already under more financial pressure than most — the people who have to buy their coverage as individuals.  Aren’t these the folks that Obama purports to help?


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It’s the cost of all those years of experience and learning that went into the doctor’s being able to examine you and assess the risks associated with prescribing a given drug or other treatment.

Mary in LA on March 17, 2010 at 2:02 PM

Bingo.
The reason why good Drs deserve to make a lot of money.
Another reason that good teachers, & those with technical degrees, should make more than other teachers, say, PE teachers.
It’s not even merit pay, it is recognizing the effort, time & education & experience that is involved in becoming a professional in areas that require higher critical thinking skills.

Badger40 on March 17, 2010 at 2:06 PM

think a lot of them are mostly interested in personal wealth.

Not your health.

AnninCA on March 17, 2010 at 1:29 PM

In your perfect world the unemployed are out of work because they just wanna be free, musicians give away all of their cd’s for free because they love singing, and anyone can be a doctor because the education is free and we all have IQ’s above 140…

Oh those dastardly healthcare providers, damn them all///

canditaylor68 on March 17, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Badger40 on March 17, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Exactly right. When I think of otc medications I took when I was younger and less aware, it is a surprise I survived. That aside, I really find it sad that this bogus propaganda coming out of the Administration and Congress has led some of the lest educated of the population to believe that the medical professions are really no more complicated than your weekly garbage collection, the professionals are just greedier.

ORconservative on March 17, 2010 at 2:08 PM

Doctors aren’t discussing cost reduction methods with a smidge of honesty.

This is the biggest group of greedy types I’ve ever met in my entire life.

They are unbelievable.

AnninCA on March 17, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Yes they are. The ones I know & have talked with say get rid of Medicare/caid & prices will stabilize, along with excessive litigation, driving down malpractice ins.
They are not greedy.
Drs make far less over their earning time than an RN or even a Vet tech.
They have to spend so long becominga Dr they have missed out on years of earning potential bcs of it.
They DESERVE to make more $$.

Badger40 on March 17, 2010 at 2:08 PM

tigerlily on March 17, 2010 at 1:43 PM

Thank you, that’s very powerful and inspiring.

NoDonkey on March 17, 2010 at 1:45 PM

You’re welcome, NoDonkey. I wish one million of us could surround the Capitol and White House and pray this prayer together. I think what would happen would be similar to what a very holy priest once told me as we prayed the Excorsism Prayer of Pope Leo the XIII outside an abortion mill. He said, ” I heard the demons come screaming out of there.”

tigerlily on March 17, 2010 at 2:11 PM

Doctors aren’t discussing cost reduction methods with a smidge of honesty.

This is the biggest group of greedy types I’ve ever met in my entire life.

They are unbelievable.

AnninCA on March 17, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Ann, please explain how doctors ought to control costs. Are the doctors who went to Haiti greedy?

What I’ve seen in recent years is a tendency for doctors to order “additional” tests — often on the whim of the so-called “better educated” patient who’s read that they need a fancy type of test on the Internet. They might not need the test, but the doctor will order one up, because the alternative is that very small probability that the patient is right, will suffer harm because the doctor pushed back, and the malpractice award will beggar the doctor in following years (malpractice insurance, like every other type of incident insurance, rates the buyer as to risk — and a doctor with a malpractice award on her record is definitely a risk).

Doctors spend a rather large number of years prepping for practice, and they do not live the Life of Riley (Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!) while doing so. They deserve every dollar for which they work.

unclesmrgol on March 17, 2010 at 2:12 PM

I just got an e-mail from AllahTyrant. He just wants us to know that from now on, anyone who expresses any sentiment that is anyway disloyal to the US, will be banned instantly.

MarkTheGreat on March 17, 2010 at 2:12 PM

MarkTheGreat on March 17, 2010 at 2:13 PM

Excorsism = Exorcism

Had to get deliverance for the spelling.

tigerlily on March 17, 2010 at 2:13 PM

Health premiums WILL go down.

They’ll setup a special department to measure premiums saved or lowered.

There will even be a whiff spiffy website with really sharp graphics. That will prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

notagool on March 17, 2010 at 2:13 PM

I really find it sad that this bogus propaganda coming out of the Administration and Congress has led some of the lest educated of the population to believe that the medical professions are really no more complicated than your weekly garbage collection, the professionals are just greedier.

ORconservative on March 17, 2010 at 2:08 PM

They also get their scientific information from pseudoscientists that can’t tell their butt from a hole in the ground.
As a science teacher, I am expected to teach more demanding & rigorous critical thinking courses (taking up that much more time) when compared to a PE or an English teacher for the same pay.
And if I’m a PE teacher, NCLB would not affect me,testing wise, so my job would never be at stake based on that.
It is really bizarre to me, how govt say one group who is uneducated & unskilled should be able to make just as much, or more $$ than another who is more rigorously (sp?!) trained & educated.
I am totally mystified as to why they think this makes sense.

Badger40 on March 17, 2010 at 2:14 PM

There will even be a whiff spiffy website with really sharp graphics. That will prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

notagool on March 17, 2010 at 2:13 PM

Not just graphics-they will have cool graphs with big hockey-stick-like lines w/ pretty colors on them.

Badger40 on March 17, 2010 at 2:14 PM

musicians give away all of their cd’s for free because they love singing,

canditaylor68 on March 17, 2010 at 2:07 PM

LOL! What can we wager that most of those Napster-song stealing iPOD kids is a democrat?

Badger40 on March 17, 2010 at 2:16 PM

tigerlily on March 17, 2010 at 2:11 PM

This reminded me of one of the best books I’ve read recently, The Last Crusade

http://www.amazon.com/Last-Crusade-Warren-H-Carroll/dp/0931888670

About how left wing bastards were crushed in Franco’s Spain.

Very inspiring. Crusaders were told that they would get a year off purgatory for every red commie bastard they killed.

Pre-Vatican II, obviously.

NoDonkey on March 17, 2010 at 2:19 PM

There may be a few who would do it purely for altruistic reasons, but the qauality and quantity of available doctors would diminish significantly – thus causing a decline in the quantity and quality of health care available to americans.

But, I believe that is a feature, not a bug.

It happened in teaching.
Although a lot of teachers do make pretty decent $$ when you count up all the benefits, I am stilled steamed that with my science degree I can make a lot of $$ right now in the oil fields vs what I make now.
I only teach bcs it affords me the lifestyle I enjoy-ranching with my husband.
I only have to work 180 days/yr & that suits me fine.
But when I see that a PE or history teacher makes as much as I do for years of experience, I am PO’d.
I am sorry to offend here, but I worked my butt off way harder than any historian did for my degree.
Engineering physics, geophysics, structural geology, + the hydrogeology diff EQ based course that blew my mind apart are all way more difficult than considering the effects of the Enlightenment on American religion.
My pay should reflect that difference.

Badger40 on March 17, 2010 at 2:21 PM

My pay should reflect that difference.

Badger40 on March 17, 2010 at 2:21 PM

And that is EXACTLY why doctors deserve to make obscene amounts of $$.
Bcs they are worth every penny.

Badger40 on March 17, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Badger40 on March 17, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Bingo.

canditaylor68 on March 17, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Frankly, in my opinion, the people who really earn their money and probably deserven more?

Plumbers and electricians.

AnninCA on March 17, 2010 at 1:17 PM

When and if the day comes that my body can be repaired as easily as my dishwasher, I may agree with you.

Until then, I am quite comfortable with my doctor being paid handsomely to fix me.

I value my health much more than I value my appliances.

sherry on March 17, 2010 at 2:28 PM

OK, so you guys go along with your doctors and continue to put them on a pedestal.

I think a lot of them are mostly interested in personal wealth.

Not your health.

AnninCA on March 17, 2010 at 1:29 PM

You are disgusting, condescending, and generally moronic.

I grew up in a community with a major teaching hospital: every single family I knew except for my own had at least one doctor, and in many cases, both parents were doctors. There were a variety of personalities, as there are in all professions, but generally, these people were the most compassionate you’d ever meet. They lived their jobs: they often had to work ridiculous hours, neglecting their families in order to save lives. Many of the doctors had come from other countries where they could not be adequately compensated for their skills: South Africa, China, Sweden, Hungary, Britain, Jamaica. They came to America so that they could have the resources needed to save lives and give their children the best future possible. These were Orthopaedic Traumatologists, Anesthesiologists, Neonatologists, Heart Surgeons, cancer researchers, AIDS researchers. Brilliant people who spent a minimum of 8-12 years in school, and even now taught the next generation of doctors to give the advanced care necessary for a healthy, thriving society.

I saw many of these doctors drowning in school debt that they could not pay off, even in spite of relatively high salaries. I saw many leave the state for another where they had no family and not much interest in the climate (apologies, but not many people who aren’t born in Minnesota want to live there) because they couldn’t afford the malpractice insurance.

And then there are the people like you, who would demonize them even as you need and use their unique skills. They put up with crap from losers like you, and will save your life even if you abuse them. You know why? It sure as hell isn’t for the money: it’s because it’s their job and they care about it: they want to do what they do well. And if some of them are greedy, what do you care as long as they fix you? Do you really care about the social conscience of the guy who fixes your heart? Who cares what his motivation is, if he does his job well? Can you do what they do? Can you fix yourself, or save your family member if their bodily functions are shutting down?

No, you can’t. You just b*tch on a blog about people you don’t know and you couldn’t possibly measure up to. So f*ck off, AnninCA. And take your socialist health care with you.

Animator Girl on March 17, 2010 at 2:30 PM

I am sorry to offend here, but I worked my butt off way harder than any historian did for my degree.
Engineering physics, geophysics, structural geology, + the hydrogeology diff EQ based course that blew my mind apart are all way more difficult than considering the effects of the Enlightenment on American religion.
My pay should reflect that difference.

Badger40 on March 17, 2010 at 2:21 PM

That’s what unions tend to do. They don’t want pay based on merit, they want lock-step pay based on seniority. thus, individual effort does not matter, only what the collective does. You end up being paid just as much as the most incompetent, problematic, lazy individual.

The top 20% don’t want this, but the medicore middle does not care b/c they will likely be paid about the same either way and the bottom 20% desperately want it b/c they know they wouldn’t last in the job otherwise. So, like in all socialist endeavors, the people with talent and who work hard get the shaft.

Monkeytoe on March 17, 2010 at 2:32 PM

Monkeytoe on March 17, 2010 at 2:32 PM

And eventually, the top 20% stop doing the work and stop paying the bills, whereupon the whole crappy socialist system collapses upon itself.

And there’s nothing jackasses like Obama can say to change that once it’s in motion.

NoDonkey on March 17, 2010 at 2:35 PM

My pay should reflect that difference.

Badger40 on March 17, 2010 at 2:21 PM

We should have a way to determine what is ‘fair pay’… I wish I could think of one…

DarkCurrent on March 17, 2010 at 2:35 PM

No, you can’t. You just b*tch on a blog about people you don’t know and you couldn’t possibly measure up to. So f*ck off, AnninCA. And take your socialist health care with you.

Animator Girl on March 17, 2010 at 2:30 PM

+10^1000000

DarkCurrent on March 17, 2010 at 2:39 PM

DarkCurrent on March 17, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Ann is going to submit her resume for the “Fairness Pay” Czarina.

NoDonkey on March 17, 2010 at 2:44 PM

Badger40, education pay is union at it’s finest and always will be. Most choose the profession for either the schedule, their own kids or for the union benefits.
You could make more elsewhere but the cost would likely not be worth it if you choose education for any of those reasons (although I know it wasn’t the union!)

ORconservative on March 17, 2010 at 2:48 PM

I imagine the number of doctors who one could label “greedy” is no higher than those in other professions. I’m sure the allure of making a lot of money is a factor in whether a person decides to become a doctor or not. Is money not a factor for most of us in our careers? I don’t work for free — who does?

I live in an area where doctor shortages are common. I couldn’t tell you why exactly, but I do know this has made it harder for everyone to find a doctor, and for those on Medicare or Medicaid, it’s even more so. You can call it “greedy” that they don’t want to have to deal with patients on Medicare/Medicaid, but the reality is, they are nickel and dimed so much and wrapped in so much paperwork and red tape, that it’s simply not profitable for them to see these patients. We’re not talking about the difference in whether they can afford a new Mercedes this year. We’re talking about whether they can afford to keep the lights on in their practice. If you saw how many vacancies there are in the clinic I go to, you’d understand what I mean. It only takes a little bit of common sense to recognize what would happen if we extended this boondoggle to cover everyone. Doctor shortages wouldn’t just be the purview of little podunk towns like mine anymore. It would be everywhere.

NoLeftTurn on March 17, 2010 at 2:54 PM

The liars at AP think it’s time to get this out, so they can then say no no no … we told you it would cost more.

Apparently we have lost sight of the reason for reform, lower costs and higher quality.

Stalin used to call his voters, useful idiots.

tarpon on March 17, 2010 at 2:55 PM

SheetAnchor on March 17, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Just finished calling all the congresscritters you listed. Called the local #’s, the D.C. lines are full. Also, I spoke very quickly and let them know I was at work and couldn’t speak for more than a few seconds – I gave them my name and told them to vote NO. I then said goodbye and hung up while they were asking me for my address and whether I lived in the district. Everyone, Please Call!

tigerlily on March 17, 2010 at 2:57 PM

And eventually, the top 20% stop doing the work and stop paying the bills, whereupon the whole crappy socialist system collapses upon itself.

NoDonkey on March 17, 2010 at 2:35 PM

As Margret Thatcher once said, the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other peoples money.

MarkTheGreat on March 17, 2010 at 3:07 PM

Or as I used to say, liberals are addicted to OPM (Other People’s Money) [OPM said out loud sounds like opium.]

MarkTheGreat on March 17, 2010 at 3:08 PM

NoDonkey on March 17, 2010 at 2:19 PM

If you have satellite or your cable carries EWTN, there is a really good series about the Crusades being aired, called Military Orders and the Crusades.

It’s really relevant to our times; chock full of facts about the Muslim’s aim to destroy Christianity and install Islam. It blows apart one of the biggest lies about the Crusades – that the Christians were attacking the Muslims.

No, as it is now, it was then. The Muzzles were on the bloody, savage offensive, attempting to convert by the sword and make the entire world slaves to Mohammed.

Thank God for the Crusaders, who took the battle to them to defend Christianity and the West, or we would all be wearing burquas or condoning sex with camels.

tigerlily on March 17, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Premiums will rise; But the money will flow through the U.S. Treasury and the flow will stop there.
No physicians will see any of it.

Cybergeezer on March 17, 2010 at 3:11 PM

Thank God for the Crusaders, who took the battle to them to defend Christianity and the West, or we would all be wearing burquas or condoning sex with camels.

tigerlily on March 17, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Also be thankful that the whole mess essentially resulted in a draw. For all the hypocrisy and slaughter that comes with a religious war (along with sometimes losing), the Crusaders DID manage to check the military advances, but the whole thing could easily have ended in disaster.

Dark-Star on March 17, 2010 at 3:13 PM

Okay, premiums will rise. Does this really surprise anyone? Hello?!?! The government is getting involved in it, how can the costs not go up.

Holy crap.

Let me put my surprised look on.

DuctTapeMyBrain on March 17, 2010 at 3:26 PM

tigerlily on March 17, 2010 at 3:09 PM

I do get EWTN, will look for it, thanks.

NoDonkey on March 17, 2010 at 4:19 PM

Animator Girl on March 17, 2010 at 2:30 PM

Sweet comeback!

Badger40 on March 17, 2010 at 5:02 PM

tigerlily on March 17, 2010 at 3:09 PM

I’ve read lots of historical accounts & opinions on the many Crusades over the years.
Christianity had dark times then & so did Islam.
Modern Christianity offers peace where Islam does not.
Check out how Christianity was forced upon the Heathens of Scandinavia. Wasn’t very nice.
But then the various Viking groups weren’t very nice either.
Bottom line is survival.
Do you want Western civilization & ideals of freedom to survive?
Then we certainly must fight against Islam.
But I’m not sure what this has to do with health care other than I suppose male Muslim doctors could refuse service to infidels?

Badger40 on March 17, 2010 at 5:05 PM

A 3000 percent decrease, Man! What do you have to think about?

chipandcharge on March 17, 2010 at 5:57 PM

One subtle point we have to remember is that the average policyholder under the current arrangement is not the same as the average policyholder under ObamaCare. The mandate forces perfectly healthy people into buying insurance, making the pool healthier over all. Thus it is entirely possible that the average premium will drop. But the person who was paying the average amount will now be someone paying an above-average amount.

It’s an insidious semantic trick. You can apply it to any social statistic. For instance, if we changed the definition of obesity to include skinny people as well, then the weight of an average obese American would drop, even though no one has lost an ounce. Or if we stick closer to the topic in question, imagine the federal government suddenly decided to mandate earthquake insurance. Since it’d cost little to insure the vast majority of homes, located where earthquakes are all but impossible, the average premium will certainly drop. Homeowners in San Francisco would, however, see absolutely no savings at all.

year_of_the_dingo on March 17, 2010 at 6:08 PM

Not sure if is has ever been mentioned, but I had to say:

Average New-Car price in 1970: $3900.00
Average New Car price in 2009: $26,300.00

Average New Home Price in 1970: approx $24,000
Average New Home Price in 2009: approx $218,000

The point? Things get more expensive and, some would argue, better. Better goods require increased costs and are affected by natural inflation and price creep. Now I would LOVE to pay NOTHING for my health care, but that’s unreasonable, especially considering the quality of my benefits. Secondly, I have ZERO love lost for insurers and agree that mostly they look to protect their profits and bottom lines (oh, the capitalistic horror!). However, Obamacare proponents that demagogue against “rising health care costs” miss the fundamental point: we are, for the most part, getting what we pay for. They did not have the breadth of diagnostic testing and procedures even 20 years ago they have now. These new tests and technologies do have a price tag. Tell the person whose completely covered (save a $15-25 dollar co-pay) colonoscopy that you are able to place some sort of specious price tag on the extra years an early colon cancer diagnosis may have bought him. Especially considering that the same disease may have claimed someone in his family earlier because we lacked the diagnostic tests easily procured from multiple (can you say competitive pricing, boys and girls?) providers. Unlike those lefties that rail against the cost of fighting against those that would seek to destroy us, I see whatever expenditure we allot to our military as being worthwhile and not wasted. Freedom, indeed, is not free. Consider the father whose son was saved by innovative and thus necessarily expensive technology for, say, body armor during a skirmish in some far away land. Ask this man what price he would pay for this technology. Ask him to, in effect, value his son’s life. Are there flaws in every system/team/organization/coffee klatch? Of course…just ask the DMV, Social Security, the VA, Medicare, The Post Office, etc. Obama claims over and over that a vote against this health care bill is a vote for the status quo and a vote against reform. Nothing could be further from the truth and he is either too idealogically blinded or intellectually dishonest to see the difference. When dems claim that Americans mostly agree with the purported tenets of the bill, they are probably correct. With compassion, I would love to see a way to ensure those with medical challenges find some way to health insurance coverage. I would love to see a way to reduce the burden on business owners. We can agree on these points. However, any solution must be rooted in free market, not statist, principles. We reject the notion that a bureaucratic monstrosity rife with corruption, fraud, and inefficiency can suddenly run like a well oiled machine and magically fix all our health care dilemnas. While we respect and protect the rights of the public to file lawsuits to correct egregious errors, enacting some sort of tort reform on frivolous lawsuits would have an immediate beneficial impact. We adamantly believe the core economic principle that to control pricing when demand is up there must be some infusion of adequate supply to meet that demand, thus we welcome the ability to compare and purchase health plans across state lines. We vehemently reject the notion that a government sponsored entity can compete fairly in a free market system given its special and inherently non-profit status (think Fannie & Freddie). Finally we respectfully disagree with the entire notion of the “nanny state.” The Constitution guarantees right of LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Tasking some bureaucrat with making decisions affecting our very lives gives us great constitutional pause.

Huckabye-Romney on March 17, 2010 at 8:21 PM

Doctors aren’t discussing cost reduction methods with a smidge of honesty.

This is the biggest group of greedy types I’ve ever met in my entire life.

They are unbelievable.

AnninCA

Warning….warning…..dumb b*tch alert.

xblade on March 17, 2010 at 10:27 PM

I’ve got news for you. EVERYTHING related to the cost of healthcare as well as your taxes will rise under Obama care.

TrickyDick on March 18, 2010 at 8:44 AM

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