Journal-Sentinel falls for Obamascare story | WisCommunity

Journal-Sentinel falls for Obamascare story


It has been four years since the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act and despite the fact it has been accepted by the general public you would think the Obamascare stories in the press would fade away.

But two examples in just the past few days demonstrate the press still have a love affair with gloom and doom predictions of Obamacare going down in flames.

The first is a about a lawsuit now before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals which picks apart some of the language of the act which could, in some conservative Alice in Wonderland legal universe, find that the act does not permit premium subsidies in those states which did not set up their own state exchanges. The concern is that of the three-judge draw hearing the case, two are conservatives. Even if they decide to destroy the ACA there are plenty of legal appeals available to make things right. But it still makes for a good scare story.

The second example is the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which should know better. They ran an written by Stephen Parente, a health care policy wonk with the University of Minnesota. Oh, by the way, did I mention he served on John McCain's campaign advisory team? Good, well the JS didn't. I guess they didn't think it was important.

Nonetheless, Parente predicts the death of Obamacare because of looming premium increases upwards of double digits starting in 2015. He maintains it would make insurance unaffordable and people would drop out, creating a death spiral. He refrained from using the word "skyrocket" which I thought was a required term in all Obamascare stories. Good for him.

You can read it yourself but any Internet search will show a history of premium increase scare stories going back three years, none of which proved true. And this prediction will fail as well because it exhibits the same omissions as all of the others. One, it doesn't get any data from the insurance companies themselves, the people who are in the best position to predict premium hikes. And two, it reflects a misunderstanding of the subsidy formula. Any premium increases would increase the subsidies so the costs would be borne by the feds, not the consumer. But third, and most importantly, good data from the insurance industry is available by way of the which is charged with anticipating premium increases based on the cost data they receive from the required reports they file. And, according to the most recent report, in April of this year, the predicted rate hikes will be LOWER than predicted and will save the government $104 billion over the next ten years.

I didn't see that story in the JS.


July 5, 2014 - 11:03am