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How Is Obamacare Working?

June 10, 2015 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

We haven’t heard much about Obamacare from the media lately (with the exception of Paul Krugman, who slips a paragraph into every other column — regardless of topic — to tell us how well it’s working). It’s as if both supporters and opponents of the health-care law are holding their collective breaths as they wait for the Supreme Court, which is expected to decide any day now whether the law will be able to survive in its current form.

Obamacare’s opponents have mostly been caucusing behind closed doors trying to decide whether and when to offer an alternative — and how much to offer — should the Court require the law to be implemented as written — that is, without subsidies on federally run exchanges.

The law’s advocates, meanwhile, may have been left speechless by the news that Obamacare has tied an all-time low for public support, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll. Just 39 percent of registered voters back the law, tying an all-time low last reached in April 2012. Fifty-four percent oppose it, and while that’s not a record, it represents a six-point increase in opposition over the past year.

As we await the Supreme Court’s decision on subsidies, an interim report.”

Or maybe the law’s supporters simply have little response to the ongoing spate of news suggesting that, Krugman notwithstanding, the law is still not working very well. For example, insurance companies have begun submitting their requests for rate increases for 2016, and those requests suggest that premiums could skyrocket next year. Already we’ve seen requests for increases for individual plans as high as 64.8 percent in Texas, 61 percent in Pennsylvania, 51.6 percent in New Mexico, 36.3 percent in Tennessee, 30.4 percent in Maryland, 25 percent in Oregon, and 19.9 percent in Washington. Those increases would come on top of premium increases last year that were 24.4 percent above what they would have been without Obamacare, according to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. At the same time, deductibles for the cheapest Obamacare plans now average about $5,180 for individuals and $10,500 for families.

In fairness, those rate-hike requests are just that — requests. State regulators are likely to trim them back, significantly in some cases. And other insurers in those states may be seeking smaller increases. We haven’t seen any data weighting increases by the number of people …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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