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Old May 31, 2013, 08:31 AM   #1
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Forbes: ACA to drive up individual insurance costs 64-146%

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One of the most serious flaws with Obamacare is that its blizzard of regulations and mandates drives up the cost of insurance for people who buy it on their own. This problem will be especially acute when the law’s main provisions kick in on January 1, 2014, leading many to worry about health insurance “rate shock.”

Last week, the state of California claimed that its version of Obamacare’s health insurance exchange would actually reduce premiums. “These rates are way below the worst-case gloom-and-doom scenarios we have heard,” boasted Peter Lee, executive director of the California exchange.

But the data that Lee released tells a different story: Obamacare, in fact, will increase individual-market premiums in California by as much as 146 percent.
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Old May 31, 2013, 08:42 AM   #2
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I wanted to stop reading when I got to this.

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He was comparing apples—the plans that Californians buy today for themselves in a robust individual market
I needed a good laugh.

No different than the dozens of other articles that fail to point out that they are comparing apples to oranges plan and the fact that many, if not most, will be eligible for subsidies and will pay much less.
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Old May 31, 2013, 09:05 AM   #3
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Good lets kill The Affordable Health Care Act and go with universal single payer.
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Old May 31, 2013, 09:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by rdowns View Post
I wanted to stop reading when I got to this.



I needed a good laugh.

No different than the dozens of other articles that fail to point out that they are comparing apples to oranges plan and the fact that many, if not most, will be eligible for subsidies and will pay much less.
If you read the article he addressed this in an update.

Keep in mind that you won't be able to keep the numbers under wraps much longer, 2014 is almost here.
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Old May 31, 2013, 09:09 AM   #5
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I needed a good laugh.
I'm not sure what you're laughing about. Peter Lee was comparing the prices of two different types of plans and claiming that premiums would be lower overall.

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The rates submitted to Covered California for the 2014 individual market ranged from two percent above to 29 percent below the 2013 average premium for small employer plans in California’s most populous regions.
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Old May 31, 2013, 09:12 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by rdowns View Post
I wanted to stop reading when I got to this.



I needed a good laugh.

No different than the dozens of other articles that fail to point out that they are comparing apples to oranges plan and the fact that many, if not most, will be eligible for subsidies and will pay much less.
He discusses this at the end of the article

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On Twitter, Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic argues that I’m being unkind to California (1) by not describing the mandates that Obamacare imposes on insurers in the individual market, and (2) not explaining that low-income people will be eligible for subsidies that protect them from much of the rate shock.

For an extensive discussion of Obamacare’s costly insurance mandates, such as its requirement that plans cover you whether you’re healthy or sick, read this post. For a discussion of how Obamacare’s insurance mandates dramatically increase the cost of insurance for younger workers, go here.

Jon is right that low-income individuals will be protected from these rate increases because of Obamacare’s subsidies, but if you’re not low-income, you face a double-whammy: higher taxes to pay for those subsidies, and higher indvidual-market insurance costs for yourself. A better approach would be to offer everyone access to low-cost consumer-driven health coverage.
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Old May 31, 2013, 11:46 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ugahairydawgs View Post
He discusses this at the end of the article
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On Twitter, Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic argues that I’m being unkind to California (1) by not describing the mandates that Obamacare imposes on insurers in the individual market, and (2) not explaining that low-income people will be eligible for subsidies that protect them from much of the rate shock.

For an extensive discussion of Obamacare’s costly insurance mandates, such as its requirement that plans cover you whether you’re healthy or sick, read this post. For a discussion of how Obamacare’s insurance mandates dramatically increase the cost of insurance for younger workers, go here.

Jon is right that low-income individuals will be protected from these rate increases because of Obamacare’s subsidies, but if you’re not low-income, you face a double-whammy: higher taxes to pay for those subsidies, and higher individual-market insurance costs for yourself. A better approach would be to offer everyone access to low-cost consumer-driven health coverage.
Young, healthy workers can be provided health care for peanuts. It is families (obgyn, maternity, pediatric), the sick of any age, people over 50, who use and need the majority of care, and who are in trouble in a free market. People who really need insurance are not healthy young workers with colds. It is people with cancer, who are basically uninsurable in the private market. The goal of Obamacare is to insure the uninsurable, and, of course it is going to cost.

I'm not in favor of the ACA particularly, because it isn't going to cut the cost of private hospitals and private cancer care. I think this is demonstrably too costly.

I would favor a public/private option like they have in, e.g., Australia. But, the bottom line is that we need to provide healthcare for the poor, the unemployed, the elderly, and people with cancer, not just healthy young workers.
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Old May 31, 2013, 12:59 PM   #8
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Seems about in line with the cost increase in my individual Kaiser Permanente plan.

First I couldn't keep my plan even though I liked it so I had to switch plans because my plan was no longer offered.
(Young and healthy / high deductible and low premium)

Then that plan increased substantially in accordance with the ACA.

In all my plan went from $175 per month to $295 per month. Good times.
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Old May 31, 2013, 01:14 PM   #9
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Honestly, we should just dissolve all the health insurance companies in this country and implement a truly universal program. Health care shouldn't be a for-profit industry. That's why our healthcare costs are ridiculously high compared to other modern ("first world") nations.

See here (2011 numbers): http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/...last&sort=desc

The US comes in at 17.9% of GDP for healthcare costs.

France? 11.6%
Canada? 11.2%
Germany? 11.1%
Switzerland? 10.9%
Cuba? 10.0% (for all the **** they get their healthcare system quite clearly beats the US)
Sweden? 9.4%
Spain? 9.4%
UK? 9.3%
Japan? 9.3%
Australia? 9.0%

Pretty pathetic when the only countries with higher healthcare costs as a percent of GDP than the United States are Liberia and Sierra Leone. Our costs are nearly double most of the nations that are most similar to ours (Canada, UK, Sweden, etc)... it's quite clear we're doing something wrong, and that's having a for-profit health care system.

Now, obviously we're a capitalist country and I'm fine with companies offering private plans to people if they want to pay for them but a true universal, single payer, non-profit system should be available to every US citizen if they choose.
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Old May 31, 2013, 01:43 PM   #10
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Now, obviously we're a capitalist country and I'm fine with companies offering private plans to people if they want to pay for them but a true universal, single payer, non-profit system should be available to every US citizen if they choose.
Ahh, but there is the rub. The insurance industry spends millions upon millions of dollars on getting Republicans elected. In exchange, the capitalists get to keep their control over the health care system costs. They know that if government gets involved, they will be out of business, and the multi-million dollar mansions will be a thing of the past.

(edit) From what I had heard, the OPs article seems wrong. Getting a larger pool of healthy customers should drive down premiums...

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Today, Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman released a new analysis that provides the first detailed look at the 2014 Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual market premium filings.

To date, five states have reported the rates proposed by insurers seeking to offer plans in the 2014 health insurance marketplace: Rhode Island, Vermont, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington. These rate filings provide the first available real-world evidence of what premiums will look like in the ACA health insurance marketplace in 2014.

The new analysis finds that in many cases the ACA appears to be reducing rates, even before tax credits are taken into account. In Washington, consumers will see average reductions of 21% - or $1,120 a year - in bronze plans and 25% - or $1,875 per year - in silver plans.

Consumers can save even more through comparison shopping on the new health insurance exchanges. In Oregon, by switching to the lowest cost plan with the same level of benefits as their current plans, consumers would save an average of 32% - or $1,370 per year - for bronze plans. Consumers in silver plans in Washington could save an average of 36% - or nearly $2,700 per year – through comparison shopping.

Competition under the ACA is already providing significant benefits. In Oregon, the release of the proposed rates prompted two insurers who had announced rate increases to reverse themselves. And in Maryland, two new insurers are entering the market for 2014.

There are a number of factors not included in this analysis that are likely to cause health insurance rates under the ACA to be even lower than described here. Most of the insurance rates released so far do not include the impact of the ACA tax credits. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 86% of individuals who received coverage through the new ACA Exchanges will receive tax credits, with the average credit reducing costs by over $5,000 per year. Link
(edit2) It should also be noted that many of the plans you cannot purchase anymore were crappy coverage. You get a far better plan under the ACA than what you thought was affordable. Had anything bad really happened, you would have been out of pocket, and then you'd be wishing you had a better plan.

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Consumer advocates were reluctant to draw conclusions from the raw rate filings for the exchange, which make it difficult to quote proposed prices for specific individuals. And they cautioned that filings by CareFirst and other carriers are only preliminary.

“Now the regulators take a look and say, ‘How do you justify these increases?’” said Kathleen Stoll, director of health policy for the pro-ACA consumer group Families USA. “That often results in a reduction to the proposed charges.”

Although prices may rise for some, benefits may be better and many will receive federal subsidies to pay the premiums, she said. Families USA estimates that some 361,000 Marylanders will be eligible for tax credits to pay insurance costs.

“Some people may actually spend much less out of pocket… and end up with a much better product and a much better situation to protect their family from financial devastation from illness,” she said.

That distinction may be initially lost on those focusing only on the premiums, however.

“To the average consumer who has insurance now, the rates will feel every bit like a rate increase,” said Joseph Antos, a health economist at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute. Link
(edit3) Are these rates of growth higher or lower than what was happening prior to the ACA? As I recall, healthcare costs were spiraling out of control... this seems like it is a manageable increase compared to what was happening in the years leading up to the passage of the ACA.

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An Aetna spokesman said proposed premiums for Maryland small group plans would rise between 12 and 16 percent next year. United proposed average small group increases of from 15 to 28 percent, but premium changes could vary widely depending on the plan, said company spokesman Matt Stearns. Ibid



Last edited by mcrain; May 31, 2013 at 01:58 PM.
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Old May 31, 2013, 01:47 PM   #11
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Dissolve the ACA, Medicaid and Medicare.

Replace it with universal healthcare for all citizens.

Add a 1% sales tax that cant be written off on all purchased goods to ensure the entire nation pays for it.
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Old May 31, 2013, 01:56 PM   #12
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Dissolve the ACA, Medicaid and Medicare.

Replace it with universal healthcare for all citizens.

Add a 1% sales tax that cant be written off on all purchased goods to ensure the entire nation pays for it.
NO, increase the top marginal rate. Sales taxes are regressive, and shift the burden of paying for healthcare inordinantely onto the poor and middle classes. The only way a sales tax works is if you add it to all stock sales.
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Old May 31, 2013, 02:06 PM   #13
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NO, increase the top marginal rate. Sales taxes are regressive, and shift the burden of paying for healthcare inordinantely onto the poor and middle classes. The only way a sales tax works is if you add it to all stock sales.
^^^ This. Sales taxes are regressive.
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Old May 31, 2013, 02:08 PM   #14
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NO, increase the top marginal rate. Sales taxes are regressive, and shift the burden of paying for healthcare inordinantely onto the poor and middle classes. The only way a sales tax works is if you add it to all stock sales.
No free rides. Tax all sold goods to pay for universal healthcare. I could however support an additional tax on golden parachutes, bonuses, stock options and Capitol gains for the sake of healthcare which is probably the country's largest issue currently.
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Old May 31, 2013, 02:14 PM   #15
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Nice idea, only that 1% VAT won't even come near to paying for healthcare worth that name....
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Old May 31, 2013, 02:15 PM   #16
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No free rides. Tax all sold goods to pay for universal healthcare. I could however support an additional tax on golden parachutes, bonuses, stock options and Capitol gains for the sake of healthcare which is probably the country's largest issue currently.
Who do you think is getting a "free ride?" I'll bet you even those people are paying payroll taxes, excise taxes, etc., and those taxes take up a pretty good chunk of their income.

The only free rides that I know are happening are being given to corporations and the incredibly wealthy who are able to manage their tax burdens in such a way that they can make massive amounts of money all but tax free.

Oh, and don't forget the children who are receiving massive transfers of wealth tax free.

You want no free rides? Fine, tax the crap out of oil companies (to make them pay for the environmental damage and wars we have fought). Eliminate all corporate welfare. Oh, and impose an estate tax on all estates that is at least as high as the top marginal rate, if not higher.
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Old May 31, 2013, 02:45 PM   #17
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NO, increase the top marginal rate. Sales taxes are regressive, and shift the burden of paying for healthcare inordinantely onto the poor and middle classes. The only way a sales tax works is if you add it to all stock sales.
It stands to reason that if you make more money you are probably spending more too. So I don't see how this disproportionately shifts anything.

The lower and middle class should be paying something towards any potential universal type coverage.
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Old May 31, 2013, 02:53 PM   #18
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Who do you think is getting a "free ride?" I'll bet you even those people are paying payroll taxes, excise taxes, etc., and those taxes take up a pretty good chunk of their income.

The only free rides that I know are happening are being given to corporations and the incredibly wealthy who are able to manage their tax burdens in such a way that they can make massive amounts of money all but tax free.

Oh, and don't forget the children who are receiving massive transfers of wealth tax free.

You want no free rides? Fine, tax the crap out of oil companies (to make them pay for the environmental damage and wars we have fought). Eliminate all corporate welfare. Oh, and impose an estate tax on all estates that is at least as high as the top marginal rate, if not higher.
Those darn evil companies and rich people.
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Old May 31, 2013, 02:56 PM   #19
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Those darn evil companies and rich people.
No, they aren't evil, but they aren't paying enough. The proof is in the pudding. Income inequality is getting worse and worse, and we are more and more in debt. What more is needed to prove we aren't taxing the wealthy enough?-+
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Old May 31, 2013, 02:59 PM   #20
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No, they aren't evil, but they aren't paying enough. The proof is in the pudding. Income inequality is getting worse and worse, and we are more and more in debt. What more is needed to prove we aren't taxing the wealthy enough?-+
Enough by whose definition?
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Old May 31, 2013, 03:00 PM   #21
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It stands to reason that if you make more money you are probably spending more too. So I don't see how this disproportionately shifts anything.

The lower and middle class should be paying something towards any potential universal type coverage.
The lower and middle classes ARE paying something. The problem with a sales tax is that even if a billionaire spends 1000 times as much as someone who only makes $150,000, that is still a smaller percentage of their income/wealth than what the middle class person is spending.

A guy who makes $150,000 spends maybe $35 or $40,000 in a year on stuff? Cars, rent, whatever. A guy making $15 Million per year would have to spend at least $3.5 million dollars every year, or they are paying a smaller percentage of their income in taxes.

(edit)
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Enough by whose definition?
By YOUR definition. If you want everyone to pay a fair amount, the person who makes $15 million in a year needs to be paying a lot more. (edit2) Not to mention his/her kids when they inheirit from him/her.
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Old May 31, 2013, 03:01 PM   #22
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No, they aren't evil, but they aren't paying enough. The proof is in the pudding. Income inequality is getting worse and worse, and we are more and more in debt. What more is needed to prove we aren't taxing the wealthy enough?-+
So then are you for a flat tax with no loopholes? That way everyone pays their share?
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Old May 31, 2013, 03:02 PM   #23
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So then are you for a flat tax with no loopholes? That way everyone pays their share?
Sounds reasonable to me (presuming you mean overall taxation is roughly flat as a percentage of earnings).
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Old May 31, 2013, 03:03 PM   #24
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So then are you for a flat tax with no loopholes? That way everyone pays their share?
ONLY if there is a single tax. It would have to be a single tax that pays for EVERYTHING that every level of government spends. In other words, a flat federal income tax does nothing but make the overall system regressive. I'd be all for a flat, or marginally progressive system, but we need to reverse the income inequality first, otherwise, we just make systemic the elite upper class, and we are no better than the days where there were landed families vs. the poor.

(edit) I should point out that as a percentage of income, the overall tax system is already pretty flat.
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Old May 31, 2013, 03:07 PM   #25
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A guy who makes $150,000 spends maybe $35 or $40,000 in a year on stuff? Cars, rent, whatever. A guy making $15 Million per year would have to spend at least $3.5 million dollars every year, or they are paying a smaller percentage of their income in taxes.
I'd be perfectly fine with going to a flat tax and have suggested as much several times. But I'd think you'd be surprised just how much someone making $15m per year spends. Generally more than $3.5m in my experience.


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By YOUR definition. If you want everyone to pay a fair amount, the person who makes $15 million in a year needs to be paying a lot more. (edit2) Not to mention his/her kids when they inheirit from him/her.
Oh...the death tax. The single most nonsensical money grab out there. Its like you paying sticker price for a car and then 10 years down the road the dealership trying to get the sales price out of you again when you give it to your kid.
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