Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Misleads on Insurance Rate Increases

Obtain insurance coverage for their families directly, this means that according to the CBO we will face costs which on average are 16% higher compared to what they would be if the Democrats’ health reform bill is not passed.

This also means that the answer to the question of whether individuals and families who obtain insurance directly will pay more than they are paying today should undoubtably be “yes”. Directly contradicting the information provided by the White House.

Now I would be remiss if I did not point out that the primary reason for the increased costs projected by the CBO is that insurers would be legally required to provide more generous benefit plans under the Senate (and House) bills. Some of these cost increases, in fact, would be offset by the efficiencies gained from the insurance mandate, which would result in larger and healthier (i.e. younger) population pools. In other words, costs would increase, but so also would the average value of the benefit plans offered based on the CBO’s analysis.

But this is not the argument offered by the White House, which instead chose to falsely and simplistically claim that no one would pay more. The key to their slipperiness on their answer to this question is the phrase “if you buy coverage like you have today“. Since their plan mandates more comprehensive coverage than what these individuals may have today, at a higher cost. Even more slippery, the source of the claim that premiums are expected to drop by “14 to 20 percent” appears to be an unnamed “Senate Democratic staff” member. In other words, a completely partisan source, not the CBO.

This issue also highlights one of the key arguments made by opponents of the President’s plan, which is that it is largely based around costly government mandates at the expense of consumer choice.

What if those of us who purchase insurance directly do not want the more generous but more expensive plans mandated by Democrats? What if we prefer to actually assume more responsibility for our families’ healthcare expenses using high-deductible plans in exchange for lower monthly premiums? And why should younger and healthier people be mandated to obtain such comprehensive (and expensive) coverage?

Most of all, why does the White House persist in providing such false and misleading information about even basic details such as these?

They seem to be under the impression that the public is largely opposed to reform because they do not understand the details. I think the reason is much simpler than this. We are sick and tired of being misled, and as a result we do not trust the President or Democrats in Congress to enact legislation which will impact healthcare for all of our families. We have had enough.

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