Obamacare's California "Home Run" is Actually a Total Whiff: Individual Premiums Rising Big Time

By now, you've probably heard all about the latest California miracle being touted by Obamacare defenders. Based on newly released rates for individual insurance premiums on the state's exchange that was created as part of the Affordable Care Act, supporters have cried victory. Rates are low, they say, both in terms of earlier predictions and existing policies.

Except they're not cheaper than what's currently available, as Peter Suderman noted here yesterday. That directly relevant point is totally obscured by phony claims that “it is difficult to make a direct comparison of these rates to existing premiums in the commercial individual market." 

The chart above is from Avik Roy at Forbes. Here's more:

“The rates submitted to Covered California for the 2014 individual market,” the state said in a press release, “ranged from two percent above to 29 percent below the 2013 average premium for small employer plans in California’s most populous regions.”

That’s the sentence that led to all of the triumphant commentary from the left. “This is a home run for consumers in every region of California,” exulted Peter Lee.

But this is fantasy baseball. As Roy explains, the Obamacare folks are comparing significantly different products: "[Lee is] comparing apples—the plans that Californians buy today for themselves in a robust individual market—and oranges—the highly regulated plans that small employers purchase for their workers as a group."

When you compare, say, the new catastrophic plans being offered to similar ones that are out there right now, the supposed Obamacare price advantage strikes out faster than Dave Kingman in the clutch.

Under Obamacare...if you’re 40, your cheapest option is the bronze plan. In California, the median price of a bronze plan for a 40-year-old male non-smoker will be $261.

But on eHealthInsurance, the median cost of the five cheapest plans was $121. That is, Obamacare will increase individual-market premiums by an average of 116 percent.

This is a point worth stressing, especially as the Obamacare p.r. machine starts cranking up. When you compare similar products to similar products, you see just how much premiums - now mandatory, due to the indivdiual mandate - are increasing.

Read more.

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  • Pro Libertate||

    Wow, so much Big Lie these days. Will there be a backlash, or is Big Lie what people crave?

  • sarcasmic||

    Market failure!

  • AlexInCT||

    It's not a failure it is a feature!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    But on eHealthInsurance, the median cost of the five cheapest plans was $121.

    As long as the applicant has no pre-existing conditions, does not smoke, and has never had a serious illness.

  • ||

    ...right that's the apples we are comparing. People who can get inexpensive health insurance are going to see their rates rise DRAMATICALLY.

    This is happening in 2014, so you know, it counts.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Not according to the California exchange and Kaiser. But we'll see. Many people have faith in market competition.

  • some guy||

    There is little room for competition when everyone has to provide the exact same product.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    It is almost a commodity - like gasoline or a bank account.

  • some guy||

    No. We are trying to treat it (health care) like a commodity, but it is a complicated combination of goods and services, many of which have a number of alternatives. Health insurance is certainly not a commodity as it involves risk management.

  • Sevo||

    That lying asshole you're attempting to reason with doesn't care; facts are irrelevant. Obozo said it, he believes it and that's that.

  • Bryan C||

    Actually, no, it's nothing at all like a commodity.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Electric power is complex but when it arrives to the consumer it is a regulated commodity.

  • KDN||

    Bang-up comparison there, Tony.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug| 5.31.13 @ 3:38PM |#
    "Electric power is complex..."

    I = V/R is tough for shreek; don't tax what passes for a brain.

  • JWatts||

    Commodity - A raw material or primary agricultural product that can be bought and sold, such as copper or coffee.

    So no, health care is not a commodity.

  • some guy||

    A commodity needs to be supplied without qualitative differentiation. In PB's mind doctors are fungible.

  • ||

    Hey look, the NHS in the UK has managed to make doctors fungible, why can't we replicate that here?

  • some guy||

    Services are only fungible at the lowest possible quality. (See you local DMV/Post Office for more details).

  • Rasilio||

    "As long as the applicant has no pre-existing conditions, does not smoke, and has never had a serious illness."

    You mean conditions that somewhere around 90% of the 25 year olds and about 60% of the 40 year olds qualify for?

    Seems like those are EXACTLY the comparisons we should be making because they will be the bulk of the people impacted by the new rates

  • some guy||

    Also, I don't think anyone is arguing that PPACA will be bad for anyone with a pre-existing condition. The whole point was to make the young and healthy subsidize the old and sick even more.

  • ||

    This. I mean, there is a good reason why I actually did call my father a slaver over it.

  • wareagle||

    well, who the hell is supposed to be the baseline, especially for lower rates? The two-pack a day, 350 pound diabetic whose had two heart attacks?

  • tarran||

    It's so cute how the Obama administration is reduced to lying at ever turn to manufacture policy successes.

    Everything they do is turning out badly.

  • Ted S.||

    Unfortunately, what they're doing, they're not doing in a vacuum. :-(

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I'm pretty sure we all agreed to pivot the Obamacare talking points to the expansion of coverage and not its quality or cost.

  • ||

    I guess that's why they don't object too loudly to the Obamacare moniker, calling it the Affordable Care Act is just being sarcastic.

  • some guy||

    If even one person gets bankrupted by medical costs it is too many!

  • Sevo||

    You bet! Why bankruptcy should only be for important things like payments on the TV!

  • Floridian||

    I thought the excuse for implementing obamacare was that health cost are rising so we need this to make healthcare cheaper? If the cost don't decrease at all isn't this a failure?

  • ||

    No the excuse was that we had to pass the bill to find out what was in it!

  • ||

    But costs WILL go down. Didn't you read the propaganda released by the Ministry of Love?

  • LynchPin1477||

    Under Obamacare...if you’re 40, your cheapest option is the bronze plan. In California, the median price of a bronze plan for a 40-year-old male non-smoker will be $261.

    But on eHealthInsurance, the median cost of the five cheapest plans was $121.

    Do do the Obamacare plans offer similar benefits to the eHealthInsurance plans? If not, you're sort of comparing the price of two different types of apples. Of course, forcing people to buy the more expensive apples whether they want to or not is still pretty awful.

  • Rasilio||

    Not likely, one of the things Obamacare does is mandates a whole lot of unnecessary coverages in order to ensure that the tiny fraction of the population who needs those coverages can get them affordably.

    So yes, they will have more "comprehensive" coverage under Obamacare, but I don't think the 25 year old homosexual who is now forced to pay for maternity care he will never need to use will consider it an actual benefit

  • thom||

    This is the point where lefties give a condescending lecture on the concept of pooling risk.

  • Sevo||

    With the fervor of a convert.

  • Rasilio||

    yes and pointing out to them that the risk of pregnancy for the 25 year old homosexual is 0 amazingly does not phase them

  • thom||

    Not only doesn't is phase them, it'll draw a little sneer, a quick snicker, and then even more nonsensical lecturing about "insurance".

  • ||

    They don't believe in insurace as actual risk management. They believe in insurance as back-door socialism.

  • ||

    He said "similar products."

    The exact same product won't exist anymore because of the new coverage mandates.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    the supposed Obamacare price advantage strikes out faster than Dave Kingman in the clutch.

    "Rob Deer likes this."

  • Palin’s Buttplug||

    I like the way my farts smell.

  • Palin’s Buttplug||

    And I like to eat poo.

  • ||

    None shall pass!

  • fish_remote||

    Finally some sanity from shreeky.

  • Dweebston||

    Did someone guess the sockpuppet's password? Bad form, if so.

  • tarran||

    No, apparently they came up with a slightly different spelling.

    It's stupid; if people ignored shriek instead of arguing with him, he'd get bored and wander away, instantly elevating the quality of the discourse.

  • some guy||

    You can still ignore him if you want. That's what I do, except on the rare occasion where I find him entertaining.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    You commentors accept conservative leaning "libertarians" like John but can't tolerate a liberal leaning libertarian.

    Fine. This little clique is small but untied.

  • robc||

    You arent any kind of libertarian.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    You illustrate why the LP is forever doomed - the Purity Test.

    I know you fail it too.

    Goddamn Ron Paul fails it with his big earmarks and anti-choice, anti -privacy stances.

    But go ahead and smugly draw the circle in, reject those who want smaller government out of purist love and devotion.

    And keep hoping for your first LP success story.

  • some guy||

    When we reject you, we are not rejecting someone who wants smaller government. We are rejecting someone who wants to trade one kind of big government for another.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug| 5.31.13 @ 3:30PM |#
    "You illustrate why the LP is forever doomed - the Purity Test."

    And you illustrate why the left is doomed; stupidity.

  • Dweebston||

    It's actually your kneejerk comparisons to Bush as a defense for arguments against Obama's policies, and your asinine insistence that the mandate-heavy exchanges, the fruits of which will kill off all legitimate reforms healthcare requires, is a market-based solution.

    If by "purity test" you mean "within a stone's through of philosophical consistency with generic libertarian principles," then yes, you fail it.

  • Invisible Finger||

    You illustrate why the LP is forever doomed - the Purity Test.

    I don't think any poster here scores 100% on a libertarian purity test, and I'd venture to say most don't even score over 70.

    Your libertarian purity rating falls into the single-digits. (Zero is a single digit.) This is mostly due to your inability to even understand the basic meaning of "liberty" or "coercion".

    On a liberty scale of "Quaker" to "Al Qaeda", with "Puritan" falling at the midpoint, your rating is "Hezbollah".

  • Ben the Duck||

    + "1" followed by an infinite number of zeroes.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug| 5.31.13 @ 3:22PM |#
    ...a"liberal leaning libertarian."

    Uh, HIH would a brain-dead lefty apologist like you even know?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    How is the spelling different?

    They hacked by password.

  • robc||

    Its spelled different because it shows up unfiltered, I had to click to see your post.

    Probably a different whitespace character between names or something.

  • some guy||

    Out of curiosity, what was the password they hacked? (I assume you have changed it.)

  • Rasilio||

    Easy

    your name is actually...
    Palin's Buttplug

    His name shows up as
    Palin's Buttplug

    view source on the page and you will see the difference.

  • Rasilio||

    err
    your name is
    Palin & # 0 3 9 ; s Buttplug

    with the sapces removed

  • Ben the Duck||

    They hacked by password.

    Of course they did, Mr. Weiner.

  • Invisible Finger||

    They hacked by password.

    Hacking the password is only HALF the issue. At best you are a half-wit.

  • ||

    Just for fun, I plugged in my family's numbers (me 58, wife 50, child 12, all nonsmokers) and a $70k salary- which won't even support you in the slums in California. Over $1200 a MONTH for the cheapest plan we're eligible for. And that's with another $2000 in deductibles and $13000 in potential out of pocket.

    What a bargain!

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Based on newly released rates for individual insurance premiums on the state's exchange that was created as part of the Affordable Care Act, supporters have cried victory. Rates are low, they say, both in terms of earlier predictions and existing policies.

    Too bad those rates are based upon the recipient getting a certain number of tax credits--without the tax credits, it's just as expensive as any other healthcare plan, or more so.

    Obamacare doesn't actually lower the real cost of healthcare, which should be the whole fucking point of reforming the healthcare industry. As I've said repeatedly, if healthcare providers post their costs upfront, like the doctor in Maine or the Oklahoma Surgery Center, the actual cost can be cut by massive amounts. That's really the one main reform that's needed--everything else is just window dressing.

    We wouldn't buy any other service or good unless someone told us the price beforehand, but that rarely happens in healthcare. Open pricing introduces actual market competition and empirically lowers prices on many healthcare services.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Medicare just announced today that the life of that program has been extended two years (to 2026) due to cost savings in Obamacare.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....that-mean/

  • fish_remote||

    Medicare just announced today that the life of that program has been extended two years (to 2026) due to cost savings in Obamacare.

    Funny that showing up in the middle of a PelosiCare PR campaign. You were making more sense up thread when describing your coprophilia.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug| 5.31.13 @ 3:35PM |#
    "Medicare just announced today that the life of that program has been extended two years (to 2026) due to cost savings in Obamacare."

    Yeah, and some fundy just announced the date of the rapture. I'm sure you'll pick up on that real quick.

  • some guy||

    Medicare just announced today that the life of that program has been extended two years (to 2026) due to cost savings in Obamacare.

    What does this have to do with the real cost of healthcare in general? Costs for one group may have gone down a little, but as the article points out costs for everyone else are going up immensely.

  • ||

    What are you talking about? You've assured us many times that Obamacare can't have any effect before 2014.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Medicare just announced today that the life of that program has been extended two years (to 2026) due to cost savings in Obamacare.

    Medicare and Medicaid are running a deficit in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

    http://www.fms.treas.gov/mts/mts0413.pdf
    Page 6 and 10.

    Basic math and government documents fuck you in the earhole again, you moron.

  • Invisible Finger||

    When shreek says he's making a killing in the markets, it means he's losing less money than CALPERS.

  • ||

    When I lived in Arizona a couple of years ago, I was able to purchase a catestrophic-only plan for $60/month. That plan actually came in handy as I had an emergency appendectomy. I ended up paying $6,000 out of pocket. Now, I'm in my 30s so under the ACA I would be required to buy at least a "Bronze" plan. Using the $261/month number, I would spend over $6,000 on premiums in less than two years.
    In other words, purchasing health insurance under the ACA is not a good idea unless you have a major surgery in the emergency room every other year.

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