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Cherry Picking The Numbers

RNC Communications - September 25, 2013

Once again the Obama Administration is trying to mislead Americans on Obamacare, this time by cherry picking premium numbers. Called “misleading,” a “partial picture” that doesn’t “actually reveal very much about what most people will pay” the report leaves much to be desired. In fact Jay Carney even admitted it wasn’t an “apples to apples” comparison of insurance costs. The truth the White House doesn’t want to admit is people will face higher costs, smaller healthcare networks and an actual comparison of premiums from states around the country shows why the administration wanted to cherry pick the numbers.

Cherry Picking The Numbers

The Obama Administration “Released A Long-Awaited Report On Premiums” In The ObamaCare Exchanges. “The Obama administration on Wednesday released a long-awaited report on premiums in ObamaCare's federal insurance exchanges - the first look at the rates that will apply in the vast majority of states, …” (Kyle Cheney, Politico’s Pulse, 9/25/13)

The Report Leaves Much To Be Desired

“The Administration Put The Best Face On Health Insurance Premiums …” “The administration put the best face on the health insurance premiums, emphasizing that the rates have come in lower than expected in the 36 states where the feds will run part or all of the exchanges.” (Brett Norman, “HHS Reveals ObamaCare Coverage Prices For Federal Exchanges,” Politico, 9/25/13)

“But It Was A Far Cry From Full Disclosure.” (Brett Norman, “HHS Reveals ObamaCare Coverage Prices For Federal Exchanges,” Politico, 9/25/13)

  • The Obama Administration’s Report Leaves Americans “In The Dark” On What They Will Pay For Health Care On The ObamaCare Exchanges. “Want to know what you might pay for health coverage in an exchange next year? Too bad. The report gives lots of examples of the kinds of people who will get good prices — but everyone else will remain in the dark until at least next Tuesday, when Obamacare is supposed to open its doors.” (Brett Norman, “HHS Reveals ObamaCare Coverage Prices For Federal Exchanges,” Politico, 9/25/13)

“There’s Just One Big Catch: The Report Doesn’t Actually Reveal Very Much About What Most People Will Pay.” (Brett Norman, “HHS Reveals ObamaCare Coverage Prices For Federal Exchanges,” Politico, 9/25/13)

  • The “Averages Can Be Misleading” As “Individuals Can Get Dramatically Different Results.” “But averages can be misleading. When it comes to the new health care law, individuals can get dramatically different results based on their particular circumstances. Where you live, the plan you pick, family size, age, tax credits based on your income, and even tobacco use will all impact the bottom line. All those variables could make the system hard to navigate.” (Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “Obama Administration Unveils Premiums And Choices In 36 States As Health Overhaul Debut Nears,” The Associated Press, 9/24/13)
  • “To Get An Idea Of The True Cost Of Coverage, Consumers Have To Add Up Premiums And Their Expected Out-Of-Pocket Costs.” “But Dan Mendelson, president of the market analysis firm Avalere Health, said the focus on premiums is too narrow. ‘The analysis doesn’t account for cost sharing,’ Mendelson said. ‘This is a limitation.’ To get an idea of the true cost of coverage, consumers have to add up premiums and their expected out-of-pocket costs.” (Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “Obama Administration Unveils Premiums And Choices In 36 States As Health Overhaul Debut Nears,” The Associated Press, 9/24/13)

“The Data Provided Only A Partial Picture Of The Reality That Consumers Will Face.” “However, the data provided only a partial picture of the reality that consumers will face.” (Robert Pear and Reed Abelson, “Officials Detail Premium Costs Of Health Plan,” The New York Times, 9/25/13)

  • The Report Fails To Show How Much “The Majority Of Americans” Will Pay Under ObamaCare. “What the report fails to say is what the health plans in the federal exchanges would cost anybody else — i.e., the majority of Americans.” (Brett Norman, “HHS Reveals ObamaCare Coverage Prices For Federal Exchanges,” Politico, 9/25/13)
    • “Insurance Experts Said The Prices … Should Be Viewed With Caution.” “Insurance experts said the prices reported on Tuesday should be viewed with caution for several reasons. In many cases, the statewide figures are averages. The rates may be available only in parts of a state, and premiums can vary as much within a state as among states.” (Robert Pear and Reed Abelson, “Officials Detail Premium Costs Of Health Plan,” The New York Times, 9/25/13)
    • Gary Cohen, Director Of The Center For Consumer Information And Oversight Admitted That The Obama Administration’s Report Didn’t Take Into Account What Customers Could Pay. “Cohen said those comparisons don't take into account the law's provisions that allow customers to see what each policy covers and how much it costs.” (Kelly Kennedy, “How The Insurance Exchanges Stack Up,” USA Today, 9/25/13)

As The Report Was Embargoed, HHS Prevented Comments From “Outside Health Insurance Experts Who Might Be Able To Provide More Analysis Of The Numbers.” “The report was issued to news organizations on Tuesday under a strict embargo, with specific instructions not to share the information with anyone else, like outside health insurance experts who might be able to provide more analysis of the numbers.” (Brett Norman, “HHS Reveals ObamaCare Coverage Prices For Federal Exchanges,” Politico, 9/25/13)

Consumers Will Face Higher Costs And Smaller Health Networks

Gary Cohen, Director Of The Center For Consumer Information And Oversight: “Rates For Residents Of Some States Will Rise.” “But rates for residents of some states will rise, Cohen said. That's particularly true for residents of states that did not provide much regulation about what types of coverage insurers must provide. Rates may also increase in places where health costs are higher in general — a kidney stone in New York City might cost more than a kidney stone in Indianapolis, for example” (Kelly Kennedy, “How The Insurance Exchanges Stack Up,” USA Today, 9/25/13)

Avalere Health Vice President: “Enrollees Are Likely To Face Very High Out-Of-Pocket Costs” And “Are At Risk Of Being In Very Narrow Network Plans.”  “‘Despite the fact that the premiums are lower than expected, enrollees on exchanges are likely to face very high out-of-pocket costs before they hit their cap, and they are at risk of being in very narrow network plans that may or may not include all the providers they need access to,’ said Caroline Pearson, vice president of health reform at the consulting firm Avalere Health, which did its own report on rates this month.” (Sandhya Somashekhar and Sarah Kliff, “How Much Will ObamaCare Premiums Cost? Depends On Where You Live,” The Washington Post’s WonkBlog, 9/25/13)

  • For Those Joining The ObamaCare Exchanges, Some May Find That Their “Specialists Are Not Covered By An Exchange Insurance Plan.”  “But those with illnesses may discover that their specialists are not covered by an exchange insurance plan. Low-income people accustomed to a certain community clinic may find that going there is no longer an option. And everyone may encounter long waits to see a doctor.” (Sandhya Somashekhar and Sarah Kliff, “How Much Will ObamaCare Premiums Cost? Depends On Where You Live,” The Washington Post’s WonkBlog, 9/25/13)

Reports On Premiums From States Across The Country Show Why The Administration May Have Wanted To Cherry Pick The Numbers

Georgia

According To HHS’s Report On Premiums In The ObamaCare Exchanges, A 27 Year Old In Georgia Will Pay An Average Of $179 A Month For The Lowest Bronze Plan – An Increase Of 491.74 Percent Over Average Premiums Currently Available. (Office Of The Assistant Secretary For Planning And Evaluation, “Health Insurance Marketplace Premiums For 2014,” HHS, 9/13; John E. Dickson, Director Of Health Care For The Government Accountability Office, Letter To Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, 7/23/13 )

  • According To The Government Accountability Office (GAO), The Range Of Annual Base Premiums For A 30 Year Old In Georgia Averages $30.25 A Month Before ObamaCare. (John E. Dickson, Director Of Health Care For The Government Accountability Office, Letter To Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, 7/23/13)

Nebraska

According To HHS’s Report On Premiums In The ObamaCare Exchanges, A 27 Year Old In Nebraska Will Pay An Average Of $159 A Month For The Lowest Bronze Plan– An Increase Of 446.7 Percent Over Average Premiums Currently Available. (Office Of The Assistant Secretary For Planning And Evaluation, “Health Insurance Marketplace Premiums For 2014,” HHS, 9/13; John E. Dickson, Director Of Health Care For The Government Accountability Office, Letter To Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, 7/23/13 )

  • According To The Government Accountability Office (GAO), The Range Of Annual Base Premiums For A 30 Year Old In Nebraska Averages $29.08 A Month Before ObamaCare. (John E. Dickson, Director Of Health Care For The Government Accountability Office, Letter To Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, 7/23/13)

Arkansas

According To HHS’s Report On Premiums In The ObamaCare Exchanges, A 27 Year Old In Arkansas Will Pay An Average Of $181 A Month For The Lowest Bronze Plan– An Increase Of 397.03 Percent Over Average Premiums Currently Available. (Office Of The Assistant Secretary For Planning And Evaluation, “Health Insurance Marketplace Premiums For 2014,” HHS, 9/13; John E. Dickson, Director Of Health Care For The Government Accountability Office, Letter To Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, 7/23/13 )

  • According To The Government Accountability Office (GAO), The Range Of Annual Base Premiums For A 30 Year Old In Arkansas Averages $36.42 A Month Before ObamaCare. (John E. Dickson, Director Of Health Care For The Government Accountability Office, Letter To Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, 7/23/13)

Wisconsin

According To HHS’s Report On Premiums In The ObamaCare Exchanges, A 27 Year Old In Wisconsin Will Pay An Average Of $189 A Month For The Lowest Bronze Plan– An Increase Of 384.62.7 Percent Over Average Premiums Currently Available. (Office Of The Assistant Secretary For Planning And Evaluation, “Health Insurance Marketplace Premiums For 2014,” HHS, 9/13; John E. Dickson, Director Of Health Care For The Government Accountability Office, Letter To Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, 7/23/13 )

  • According To The Government Accountability Office (GAO), The Range Of Annual Base Premiums For A 30 Year Old In Wisconsin Averages $39.00 A Month Before ObamaCare. (John E. Dickson, Director Of Health Care For The Government Accountability Office, Letter To Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, 7/23/13)

Louisiana

According To HHS’s Report On Premiums In The ObamaCare Exchanges, A 27 Year Old In Louisiana Will Pay An Average Of $175 A Month For The Lowest Bronze Plan– An Increase Of 376.19 Percent Over Average Premiums Currently Available. (Office Of The Assistant Secretary For Planning And Evaluation, “Health Insurance Marketplace Premiums For 2014,” HHS, 9/13; John E. Dickson, Director Of Health Care For The Government Accountability Office, Letter To Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, 7/23/13 )

  • According To The Government Accountability Office (GAO), The Range Of Annual Base Premiums For A 30 Year Old In Louisiana Averages $36.75 A Month Before ObamaCare. (John E. Dickson, Director Of Health Care For The Government Accountability Office, Letter To Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, 7/23/13)

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