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Government and Politics


Obamacare supporters blast Ohio's dire report on insurance premiums
Soaring premiums may be undercut by federal subsidies - but who's paying?
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
Though Democrats celebrated passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, it's remained controversial.
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In The Region:
Supporters of the new federal health care law are blasting back at a new report from the state’s chief of insurance, an opponent of the Affordable Care Act, who says premiums will be going up dramatically for Ohioans shopping on the federally run marketplace this fall.

Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports that non-partisan information about the what's also known as Obamacare – is still hard to come by.
LISTEN: Obamacare supporters blast report on insurance premiums

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The head of the state’s Department of Insurance is Republican Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor – who also is a vocal critic of the federal Affordable Care Act. She says her office has completed a final review of all plans that will be sold online on the federally run marketplace called the exchange starting Oct. 1 – and she says it’s bad news for Ohio insurance buyers. 

“Premiums in the individual market are going to go up 41 percent on average. And then, if you’re a small business owner looking at your rate comparisons from 2013 to 2014 after you take into account the ACA (Affordable Care Act) impact, premiums there will increase 18 percent on average.”

Political math?
But the supporters of the law also known as Obamacare say Taylor isn’t telling the whole story with those numbers. Cathy Levine is with Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage, and says she’s not sure where Taylor got her numbers. But Levine says while premiums will be higher for some people, they won’t be for everyone, as she feels Taylor is implying. 

“Some people have enjoyed artificially low premiums because people with pre-existing conditions have been shut out at the marketplace. Most middle-class people are going to get tax credits and subsidies that will bring down the actual amount they pay in premiums.”

Taylor acknowledges that’s true, but says there was no way her review could take into account those subsidies. She says they're calculated with tax-and-income information, so her office couldn’t determine how much individual consumers could receive in subsidies. 

“There will be some Ohio consumers that will receive federal subsidy. We cannot lose (sight of) this fact, though:  that’s being paid for by federal taxpayers. And in fact, the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) released that by 2016, that subsidy to consumers is going to cost taxpayers $100 billion.”

Fully paid for
That’s a common claim about the Affordable Care Act, and Levine takes issue with it. 

“That’s absurd. When the law was passed in 2010, the money was set aside from reducing overpayments to insurance companies for the Medicare prescription drug plan and other sources. This law is fully paid for, so this isn’t going to be a running-tab on taxpayers.”

Some states are reporting that premiums and costs to cover what are considered essential benefits required under the act will be lower. But Taylor says that’s because their insurance markets were more heavily regulated than Ohio’s, which she says allowed for more competition and choice. ACA advocates closely tied to the Obama administration are taking note of reports that premiums will be rising in Ohio, Florida and Georgia, and will launch in those states what they call – using their words – a new offensive promoting Obamacare.
(Click image for larger view.)

Listener Comments:

Joe is correct. The employer mandate is postponed until after the next election, however many businesses have informed people that employees will be part-time when the Obamacare mandate is in effect because part time employees are exempt. The businesses/capitalists are already taxed enough, and the onerous Obamacare mandate is too much - the same analogy goes for the workers, but -progressives/wealth stealers' lie, and the working/middle class pays for their apathy and/or masochism.


Posted by: green's gone on August 6, 2013 3:08AM
Lt. Governor Mary Taylor please continue your great work of truthfully informing the citizens of our great country .... The supporters of the ACA here in Washington are also continuing to skew the real truth about the cost of Obama Care .... Not only is Obama Care helping to bring down America as we know .... his entire administration is on course to ruin our AMerica and our way of life .... Yes we do need some help in the area of health care, but Obama Car is not the answer, but rather a quick path to ruination of our entire health care system as we know it ....


Posted by: Joe Whitehouse (Issaquah, Washington) on August 4, 2013 11:08AM
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