Patterico's Pontifications

8/10/2017

Health Insurance Premiums Set To Rise Again. Whom Does The New York Times Blame?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

Shockingly, the New York Times tries to blame it on Trump:

The Kaiser Family Foundation has compiled proposed insurance prices for coverage in 21 large American cities next year. . . . Two themes stick out: One is that, while insurance premiums will rise substantially in many cities, the increases are generally not bigger than they were last year. The other is that insurers are being quite explicit about citing the Trump administration’s hostile policy messages as a substantial reason for the higher prices.

In many states, insurers have said that they are asking for higher prices because they assume the White House won’t enforce the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, its rule that people who can afford it must buy insurance or pay a tax penalty. The carriers are also worried that the government will stop paying them cost-sharing reduction subsidies, payments that are the subject of a lawsuit between the executive branch and the House, and which the president has repeatedly threatened to halt.

Note how the analysis just takes ObamaCare as a given. Of course, the reason premiums started rising precipitously to begin with was ObamaCare. (Our system of third-party payment started the ball rolling, of course. ObamaCare care just made it worse.) Once the government told people that they could hold off on buying health insurance until they were sick, the concept of insurance was dead. Now, keeping the companies afloat depends on: 1) trying to force people to buy coverage they don’t want, and 2) bailouts.

Blaming Trump for all this requires some mighty convenient amnesia as to how we got here to begin with. It’s like watching Obama slice someone in the chest with a knife and walk away whistling, and watching the New York Times blame Trump for the bleeding, because they don’t like the size of the Band-Aid.

It doesn’t help that six U.S. Senators (McCain, Murkowski, Portman, Heller, Alexander, and Capito) have been turncoats on repeal, or that Trump has done a poor job of putting pressure on those turncoats. To extend the analogy, we need to rip off the Band-Aid and actually sew up this wound. The GOP is helping nothing.

But let’s remember where the original blame for this mess lies: squarely on the shoulders of Barack Obama.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

22 Responses to “Health Insurance Premiums Set To Rise Again. Whom Does The New York Times Blame?”

  1. “Note how the analysis just takes ObamaCare as a given”

    Why not, GOP Congressional “Leadership” does.

    MJN1957 (6f981a)

  2. Insurance cos are cautious accountants who like predictability and there’s been nothing but chaos in this admin. Actuaries and risk tables are afire with uncertainty.

    Normally, the slow march makes blame for a POTUS a whackamole, but this is Trumps thing….reckless disregard is on him.

    Ben burn (9f4670)

  3. Of course the REAL chaos is OBAMACARE. He started it!

    Ben burn (9f4670)

  4. Our esteemed host appears to have forgotten that everything was George Bush’s fault, right up until November 9, 2016, when everything became Donald Trump’s fault. His Messiahness Barack Hussein Obama was responsible for everything that was good and right and helpful, but was never at fault for anything that went wrong.

    The always helpful Dana (863cda)

  5. There is plenty of blame to go around.

    The insurance companies knew that their system was unpopular, yet did nothing as an industry to fix it. The Prisoner’s Dilemma mostly.

    The Democrats chose a reform that went WAY beyond what was needed. All that they had to do was require companies to accept anyone with, say, 3 years proof of a minimum level of insurance. That would have had a minimal impact on premiums and solved all the horror stories. But no.

    If the Dems ALSO wanted to get the poor and untreated into the medical system, they could have bit the bullet and used Medicaid to do that, rather than private insurance.

    The GOP chose a far more complicated process recently, when repeal, coupled with the above simple reform, would have sufficed.

    It would also have been good to allow people to write off their premiums, just like employees are not taxed on theirs.

    It is TRUMP’s fault in that he could not lead his party to a solution. But then, he can’t lead them to anything, with the possible exception of pork.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  6. It’s like watching Obama slice someone in the chest with a knife and walk away whistling, and watching the New York Times blame Trump for the bleeding, because they don’t like the size of the Band-Aid. –Patterico

    Perfect metaphor.

    AZ Bob (f7a491)

  7. Obamacare was designed to implode, its like composition of the Dana barretts coop, designed to summon phantasms

    narciso (d1f714)

  8. And now Trump is going to work with the Democrats to “fix” Obamacare. What could go wrong?

    Kevin M (752a26)

  9. I’m still blaming Mary Landrieu.

    Andy (11847a)

  10. Where s the GOP pudhback, they make avoxrs seem chatty.

    narciso (d1f714)

  11. It’s not just that they are trying to blame Trump- that is pathetic enough- but look at what they are trying to blame Trump for.

    The carriers are also worried that the government will stop paying them cost-sharing reduction subsidies

    Oh noes!! Trump refuses to pour money into the pockets of insurance companies! However will our plan to perpetually fellate the insurance industry ever come to pass!!

    At this point, the distinction between 95% of the Democrat party, and a windup doll that only regurgitates the preferences of the Party’s donor base, exists only in theory.

    Bill Kilgore (b84dca)

  12. In fairness, the column is a “news analysis” opinion piece by the Upshot, and the very next paragraph after the ones you quoted acknowledges your criticism of Obama and Obamacare:

    Alleigh Marre, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, blamed the Obama administration for high insurance prices in a statement about the report. “Since Obamacare went into effect under the previous administration, skyrocketing healthcare costs and fewer choices have become the norm,” she said. “This analysis confirms what we already knew — Obamacare is flawed, failing, and harming the American people. Inaction is not an option.” Ms. Marre indicated that the administration’s preferred course of action would be a legislative overhaul of the Affordable Care Act. She did not provide any additional clarity on the cost-sharing subsidies or the mandate.

    Dave (445e97)

  13. Oh noes!! Trump refuses to pour money into the pockets of insurance companies! However will our plan to perpetually fellate the insurance industry ever come to pass!!

    This is really silly. If last year’s prices were partially subsidized, and those subsidies stop, are you really expecting this prices won’t reflect that?

    The subsidies are intended to spread financial pain over the entire base of taxpayers, rather than allowing it to fall exclusively on the relatively small fraction of people who pay for their own insurance.

    The insurance companies are going to get their money one way or the other.

    Dave (445e97)

  14. Ask Congress why rates are going up. They wrote the law that levied the requirements and regulations that closed the market to any other choice.

    crazy (11d38b)

  15. The carriers are also worried that the government will stop paying them cost-sharing reduction subsidies

    For Trump to order those payments would be an impeachable offense.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  16. I don’t see why Trump shouldn’t be blamed. They’re blaming Reagan for Kim Jong Un, so this should be child’s play.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  17. If you like paying excessive annual increases in healthcare premiums, co-pays, and deductibles, you can keep your ObamaCare. Of course, you’ll never see the $2,500 savings you were promised over and over again by Obama and every other two-faced Democrat liar in Congress.

    Write the promises of Democrats on the tombstones of Americans who died waiting for the healthcare they were promised but never received. Then, check the voter registration rolls to see if the deceased is still somehow voting a straight Democrat ticket.

    ropelight (072508)

  18. In 1968, at the height of Vietnam, My father told me that by the time it was over the Republicans would be blamed for it. I thought it was an amazingly cynical statement. But in popular culture Nixon is blamed for Vietnam.

    Charlie Davis (df08d0)

  19. There was an article about this in the Weekly Standard:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/why-so-expensive/article/2009144

    Senator Ron Johnson had difficulty extracting a McKinsey & Company study done for the Department of Health and Human Services but he got it and it shows that the main cause of higher premium prices is not the essential benefits package but community ratuing and guaranteed issue (no exclusion, nor higher prices for preexisting conditions)

    “Had we never passed Obamacare, premiums should be somewhere in the $300 per month level versus $574,” Johnson said in a Senate floor speech in July. “This is the damage done by Obamacare. And this, I’m very sad to report, is what we are not adequately addressing.”

    Of course the question is, will they be fully funded?

    In facvt if the goal is to have everyone get treatment, it makes no sense to want everyone to buy insurance because that will only cause people to waste money.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  20. Kevin M (752a26) — 8/10/2017 @ 10:57 am

    It is TRUMP’s fault in that he could not lead his party to a solution.

    Today Trump blamed Mitch McConnell.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  21. Can’t quibble with a single word.

    Shipwreckedcrew (2f6716)

  22. It is often said about the greatest of the great performers in various sports (Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Tom Brady, etc) that they make their teammates better.

    The same effect, but in reverse, is apparent with Donald Trump. He discredits and debilitates everyone who tries to work with him, making them less effective than they would be otherwise.

    Dave (445e97)


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