HHS Issues Another ObamaCare Press Release

posted at 3:05 pm on January 28, 2011 by John Sexton

They’re calling it a report, but it’s just another attempt to re-message health reform. You may recall that HHS released a similar “report” 10 days ago claiming that half of all Americans had pre-existing conditions which might make them subject to insurance “discrimination.” The gimmick in that case was the numbers were padded by the inclusion of common maladies such as asthma and hypertension which might lead some insurers to charge modestly increased premiums.

Today’s report is focused on the future cost savings of the new law:

The report, to be released by HHS later today, argues that individuals and families purchasing coverage through the exchanges in 2014 will save 14-20 percent over what coverage would cost them if the law had never been enacted.

You could almost describe this as a premiums created or saved argument, similar to the one the administration has used to defend the stimulus. Both arguments have in common that they take credit for improvements over a set of projections that didn’t (or in this case won’t) happen.

But the HHS report goes beyond the usual rhetorical sleight-of-hand and almost into the realm of deception. To learn the full extent of the game, you have to pay attention to footnote 3 in a graph on the last page of the report. There you learn of the following wrinkle in the assumptions being made, “Assumes CBO 11/30/09 gross savings of 20%, not counting the premium cost of buying up benefits.” They don’t explain what that last phrase means, but Politico caught it:

The report is based on projections contained in a November 30, 2009 analysis of the ACA. But the Administration omits a part of the CBO’s analysis, which is being used by the law’s opponents to claim that the law actually increases premiums. The ACA requires the purchase of benefit packages that are more comprehensive than what many Americans would otherwise buy.

Simply put, the HHS report is comparing an average plan under ObamaCare circa 2014 to what the same plan would have cost without the wonderful benefits of the new law. The only problem is that the law itself makes it impossible for anyone to actually realize these savings because the plan in question won’t exist. Under the health exchanges there will be four tiers of plans, the least expensive of which will cost more (because ObamaCare mandates things like no lifetime caps on payouts) than the plans many people currently have.

Plan premiums are not going down, they’re going up.  HHS can play all the games it wants with these projections in a report, but there’s no arguing with the fact that 729 organizations (totaling 2.2 million members) have already sought and been granted waivers from the very real added costs they face because of the new law.

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Count it!

lorien1973 on January 28, 2011 at 3:09 PM

The report, to be released by HHS later today, argues that individuals and families purchasing being forced to purchase coverage through the exchanges in 2014 will save 14-20 percent over what coverage would cost them if the law had never been enacted. Or, they’ll go to jail. You know either way.

FFA.

lorien1973 on January 28, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Somebody at Politico’s premiums must be going up, they are off the reservation. Intervention time from MSM head honchos.

txmomof6 on January 28, 2011 at 3:10 PM

As always when talking about liberal *cough* socialist *cough* policies…everyone is equal, just the “important” people are more equal. 729 waivers and counting.

search4truth on January 28, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Why on earth anyone believes one word on the fuzzy math out of bho and teams mouth, is beyond me! The truth is no where near anyone of them, lies, lies, and more lies!
L

letget on January 28, 2011 at 3:13 PM

…and if puppies pooped gold bars, then every animal humane society would be a palace.

RBMN on January 28, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Mine went up THREE times this year (and last) and every time (including the latest increase last month) came with a letter stating that the “Affordable Health Care Act” (ObamaCare) WAS THE REASON.

They LIED.

In addition, my deductible was raised from $1,000 to $1,250 again, for the same reason “expected costs related to ObamaCare”

WHAT A CROC!

That new law was sold on lies and deceit and has cost me real money, so they can go F#$@! themselves!

Opposite Day on January 28, 2011 at 3:20 PM

Sound almost like GM saying that dropping all the lines except Cadillac will lower the cost of GM cars since Cadillacs will be only be $39K after that compared to the $40k they would have been otherwise. Just ignore the other options($23K Malibu) that no one really wanted anyway.

So a 50% increase in average price is REALLY a 2.5% savings!

Maybe next they can lower the price of beef by banning hamburger.

OBQuiet on January 28, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Question:
Is the 2.2 million figure the number of union members or of American citizens?

mjbrooks3 on January 28, 2011 at 3:23 PM

I would love to see them explain the savings and then immediately thereafter explain the waivers. Guess I’m dreaming, huh?

NJ Red on January 28, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Is the 2.2 million figure the number of union members or of American citizens?

mjbrooks3 on January 28, 2011 at 3:23 PM

the people Obama has put on the payroll to cover his butt.

upinak on January 28, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Or, they’ll go to jail. You know either way.

FFA.

lorien1973 on January 28, 2011 at 3:10 PM

At least in jail, you’re not forced to pay for your healthcare. And you family might even qualify for Medicaid.

Win-Win!

OBQuiet on January 28, 2011 at 3:27 PM

The HHS: comparing apples to rocks.
What’s the problem?

LASue on January 28, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Our 2011 costs are UP, deductibles UP, benefits DOWN….because of the brain-dead, job-killing, senior-killing, baby-killing OBAMACARE!!

landlines on January 28, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Our 2011 costs are UP, deductibles UP, benefits DOWN….because of the brain-dead, job-killing, senior-killing, baby-killing OBAMACARE!!

landlines on January 28, 2011 at 3:29 PM

This is exactly what happened to me. Also, if you need surgery on a non-emergency basis, the hospital and/or surgical center wants your deductible right up front or no scheduling of the surgery. Mine went from $500 to $2,500 just this January.

NJ Red on January 28, 2011 at 3:32 PM

If anyone wants to know how to qualify for a Waiver, go here.

Also, see all those that DID get a waiver.

Kini on January 28, 2011 at 3:33 PM

The only problem is that the law itself makes it impossible for anyone to actually realize these savings because the plan in question won’t exist.

HHS Press Release: “Apples = Oranges, Doncha Ya Know.”

BuckeyeSam on January 28, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Question:
Is the 2.2 million figure the number of union members or of American citizens?

mjbrooks3 on January 28, 2011 at 3:23 PM

Go to Michelle Malkin’s site where she breaks the numbers down. Forty percent, so far, are union people. So far. The rest are GE employees. (Ok,I kid)

Vince on January 28, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Savings of 3000% on premiums still have not started.

400,000 jobs almost ammediately after the bill was signed didn’t either.

unexpected.

seven on January 28, 2011 at 3:38 PM

At least in jail, you’re not forced to pay for your healthcare. And you family might even qualify for Medicaid.

OBQuiet on January 28, 2011 at 3:27 PM

3 Meals, a cot, and a place to squat.

Kini on January 28, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Did Politico get an exemption from OboobaCare?

Akzed on January 28, 2011 at 3:48 PM

I heard on the radio today that 40% of the waivers are going to unions…

Just saying. OSocialistCare needs to be repealed. 26 States and over 700 politically motivated waivers.

dogsoldier on January 28, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Go to Michelle Malkin’s site where she breaks the numbers down. Forty percent, so far, are union people. So far. The rest are GE employees. (Ok,I kid)

Vince on January 28, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Thanks…

mjbrooks3 on January 28, 2011 at 3:54 PM

No news here. News would be if the Obama administration tells the truth about something.

GaltBlvnAtty on January 28, 2011 at 4:07 PM

I hate Obamacare just as much as the next guy, but I have to disagree with this statement:

inclusion of common maladies such as asthma and hypertension which might lead some insurers to charge modestly increased premiums

Just try buying insurance after age 50 with asthma, or being on a statin or blood pressure med. It will be tough, if not impossible, in most states to find anyone to cover you, at any cost, even though your overall health is excellent.

bopbottle on January 28, 2011 at 4:13 PM

Just try buying insurance after age 50 with asthma, or being on a statin or blood pressure med. It will be tough, if not impossible, in most states to find anyone to cover you, at any cost, even though your overall health is excellent.

bopbottle on January 28, 2011 at 4:13 PM

Thta’s seems to be intentional. Democrats really do want older people to die. They want the resources for the younger drones. Of course party members will have access to all the latest drugs and the best care, regardless of age.

darwin on January 28, 2011 at 4:17 PM

If these agencies can psychically deduce the future, why don’t they stop murders, abductions, terrorist attacks, and even accidents in the home? It’d be a great service, whereas proclaiming something would be true if not for A, B, and C is probably pretty worthless in comparison.

TheBlueSite on January 28, 2011 at 4:24 PM

Our health insurance (we pay our own, self-employed) already goes up every quarter — and we are blessedly healthy. It’s only going to get worse. Thanks to O.

publiuspen on January 28, 2011 at 4:27 PM

My health insurance went up 48%, and the company, in contact with our HR person, said that the Obamacare mandates were the number 1 cause.

No honest human thinks Obamacare will save a dime, no one honestly thinks you can, in the long run, keep your plan and your doctor, etc. It’s all a massive game to liberals who want to incrementally establish single payer universal healthcare.

TheBlueSite on January 28, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Our premia went up so much we had to change providers. And PPACA means that the maximum allowable FSA election is now about half of what I elected last year. That’s an unambiguous tax increase because more of my health expenditures can now only be purchased with post-tax dollars.

That’s putting aside that the microeconomics of Orszagism (as Mickey Kaus called this delusion) are completely implausible.

DrSteve on January 28, 2011 at 4:49 PM

HHS needs to be gutted badly, it is full of partisan, progressive hacks…. or is “gutted” politically incorrect and insensitive?

ultracon on January 28, 2011 at 4:50 PM

CBO found discretionary cost increases required for program support amounting to (and so erasing) half the “savings” in PPACA, without even having been asked to do so. Imagine how it would look if they’d been asked.

At some point Paul Ryan needs to have them rescore PPACA with his own set of assumptions.

DrSteve on January 28, 2011 at 5:03 PM

I recently got a letter from my health insurer saying my premium was going up 19% at the renewal date due to the new Obamacare law.

daveundis on January 28, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Just wait until inflation kicks in. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

GarandFan on January 28, 2011 at 6:47 PM