Saturday, August 24th, 2019

Celebrate compulsory enrollment in Obamacare today

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President Barack Obama is coming to Milwaukee today to celebrate the number of Milwaukeeans enrolled in Obamacare. At the MacIver Institute, I explained what the president is likely to see and why we really have nothing to celebrate:

Those poor souls who entered the Obamacare exchange to buy health insurance found the insurance pickings a bit poorer than expected. An analysis by the MacIver Institute found that there were 600 fewer plans from which to choose compared to the previous year.

Fewer plans that cost more, actually, as, “premiums, deductibles, and maximum out of pocket increased for bronze plans on average across the state.” The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said the increase in premiums and deductibles went up by an average of 8.4 percent to 9.2 percent for 2016. Wisconsin’s experience is consistent with national price increases, estimated by a report from McKinsey & Company at a median increase of 10 percent to 13 percent in 2016.

While supporters of Obamacare will certainly point out that federal subsidies will soften the blow for these increases in premiums, subsidies merely transfer the increased costs from the insurance purchaser to the taxpayers.

Also, the subsidies do nothing to cover the increased cost of the higher deductibles, which is increasingly putting health insurance back out of reach for lower income families. Last year a Kaiser Family Foundation study found less than a fifth of low-income families can afford high-range deductibles and just half of middle class families can afford them.

All of this is a far cry from Obama’s campaign promise that Obamacare would lower insurance premium costs for families by $2,500 per year. We’ll lump that in with the promise, “If you like your health insurance you can keep it.”

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