by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
… [T]he combined effect of last week’s reports from the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is lethal to Obamacare. HHS reported that insurance premiums have doubled since 2013 while the CBO found that the American Health Care Act (AHCA) will produce lower premiums “than current law.”
“Current law,” in the vernacular of the CBO, means the “Affordable Care Act.” AHCA is, of course, the GOP “repeal and replace” bill that passed the House in early May and is currently under review by the Senate. The CBO’s assertion that AHCA would produce lower premiums than would Obamacare precipitated an inevitable propaganda campaign by the “news” media. Countless outlets published preposterous headlines like this one from Yahoo News: “Budget Office: 23 Million People Would Lose Insurance Under New Health Care Law.” The point of such inaccurate reports was to distract the public from findings like the following:
About one-third of the population resides in states that would [under AHCA] make moderate changes to market regulations. In those states, CBO and JCT expect that, overall, average premiums in the non-group market would be roughly 20 percent lower in 2026 than under current law.
Some states will be able to obtain waivers under AHCA that will allow them to make regulatory changes involving “essential health benefits” (EHBs) and community rating. The populations of these states can also expect substantially lower premiums than they would otherwise be forced to pay. About half the population would enjoy less dramatic relative decreases because their states would be less likely to make regulatory changes. Even in those states, however, the public will be better off with AHCA than they would be under the yoke of Obamacare. This fact will eventually penetrate media propaganda about zillions “losing” their insurance.