By now, the story from Iowan Terry Jones is tragically familiar. The 58-year-old diabetic had his existing plan cancelled, and now he can’t find a plan that will cover him at anywhere near the prices and deductibles he previously had. However, the coverage from WHO-TV in Iowa adds another twist to the incompetence of HHS and the management of the ACA. When Jones and WHO tried calling the support organizations listed for Iowans to help “navigate” the system, the organizations found out for the first time that they’re listed on the exchange websites (via The Corner):
The healthcare.gov website lists almost 40 Des Moines organizations that can help. We called ten at random. None could help, and most didn’t realize they were listed on the government’s website.
How did these organizations get added to the website in the first place? Did someone at HHS just flip through the Yellow Pages and add them to a list? How many more navigators and support organizations in other states are getting phone calls and just discovering that they became agents of the Obama administration?
As for the economics of this piece, let’s note up front that Jones will likely get significant federal subsidies to cover these prices:
Jones takes home $1,600 a month. Between him and his wife, without insurance, medicine will cost him $1,400 a month.
Subsidies, though, don’t lower costs — they just screen prices from the consumer. The costs of coverage are skyrocketing, thanks to the mandates imposed by ObamaCare, and everyone will pay for them. They’ll either pay directly in higher premiums, or they will pay for them in higher costs through the direct and indirect taxes that fund the subsidies. The huge upward spike in retail premiums tells the true story of cost curves under the ACA, which is why Jones is correct in calling this “a case of bait-and-switch.”
Update: It’s Terry Jones from Fort Dodge, not Terry Dodge from … er, Fort Dodge. My apologies.
Update: David Steinberg has a lot more on, er, dodgy navigators at PJ Media.