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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Fake Punditry in Action -- 7

The latest installment of fake punditry in action comes from Joy Ann Reid writing in the Daily Beast.  This one is so fake that it's funny.  Reid's point is that Obamacare is working well and that it is a GOP lie to say that the system is imploding.  Here are a few of her more hilarious points:

1.  The system is not collapsing because about 12 million people signed up for insurance on the exchanges in 2016.  Even Reid had to admit that this number was millions lower than what had been projected by the government.  She says, however, that the system cannot be collapsing if people are signing up.  What a hoot!  Reid ignores the fact (that's right the FACT) that the law requires each American to have health insurance.  There's a substantial fine for those who don't buy insurance.  The real point is not that 12 million people obeyed the law, but that tens of millions chose NOT to obey the law and to go without insurance.  It is a testament to how Obamacare is failing.

2.  There is no lack of insurance providers in the system because a judge ruled that Aetna may have left a few exchanges because the government did not approve its merger with Humana.  It's another howler.  Here are some facts Reid ignores:  First, there were 22 coop companies set up under Obamacare to offer insurance.  At least 20 have closed because they could not survive in the market.  There are many insurance companies that have withdrawn from the exchanges and more will depart at the end of 2017 if nothing is changed.  Nearly a quarter of the counties in the USA have only one insurance company offering plans to residents, and a growing number of counties have NO insurance companies selling plans.  This is a lot more than just Aetna withdrawing from a few states.  Even a moron like Reid must understand that.

3.  The rise in premiums is unimportant because the subsidies go up with the premiums.  This one is so dumb that you can tell that Reid gets her health insurance from her employer.  She obviously doesn't buy it herself.  For 2017, insurance premiums went up across the country by double digit percentages.  In some states, the rise was over 100%.  And guess what; not all those who bought plans qualified for subsidies.  I just looked on the Connecticut exchange for what it would cost today to buy a Silver plan for a single person age 60 with an annual income of $55,000.  The lowest cost Silver plan with a $4000 deductible is over $950 per month or over $11,500 per year.  That's over 20% of this person's total income, and it provides no coverage until another $4000 is spent.  That person making $55,000 gets no subsidies.  But what if the person makes $10,000 less; he or she has an annual income of $45,000.  For that person, the cost for the same health plan is about $6000 less.  That person still pays roughly $5000 for a plan that provides no benefit until $4000 is spent.  Neither of these two people is rich; in Connecticut, the median household income was over $66,000 last year.  The point is that those who get no subsidies (which is about a quarter of those who buy on the exchanges) are getting hit with enormous premiums, and those who get subsidies are also being hit with enormous premiums.  Literally, millions of people are being priced out of the market even with the subsidies.


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