Monday, July 11, 2011

Why Should Americans Believe the Administration’s Promises on Premiums?

Secretary Sebelius is scheduled to participate this morning in a rollout of the Administration’s proposed Exchange regulations.  But as Kaiser Health News reports this morning, even the owner of the Capitol Hill small business where the rollout will occur is skeptical that the law, including the Exchanges, will lower his health care costs: “I am not confident at all that Obamacare will lower my costs.…It seems like whenever the government does get involved in something like this, it never works out.”

It’s worth going back to September 2009, when the Secretary gave a speech in which she cited the Colby household as a reason to pass Obamacare.  At the time, the family, which includes a cancer survivor and two teenage daughters, was paying $30,000 a year, or $2,500 monthly, for insurance coverage.  Last month the Columbus Dispatch caught up with the Colby family two years later, after Obamacare passed.  What are the Colbys now paying for insurance coverage?  “Each month, they write out a check for $3,537” to cover their insurance premiums.  That’s a premium increase over the past two years of $1,000 a month, or a whopping $12,000 per year.

As a reminder, candidate Obama promised to cut premiums by $2,500 for the average American family.  And so it’s worth asking:  If premiums have gone UP rather than falling by the $2,500 that candidate Obama promised, and if the Colby household’s premiums have skyrocketed by $1,000 per month in the two years since Obamacare passed, why should we believe the promises of Secretary Sebelius and the Administration when it comes to the Exchanges, that this time – this time – things will be different?