Tuesday, August 27, 2013

John Thune #brokenpromise Of Being Honest With South Dakotans on #Obamacare

It's hot.  Really hot and it is hard to sleep, but thank goodness I am not one of the students at SDSU.  In the heat I was looking at some tweets and came across this one by Senator Thune:

 @SenJohnThune New @kaiserfamfound study shows average family premiums up 19% since #ObamaCare passed in 2010. #brokenpromise kff.org/private-insura…
This peeked my curiosity since Kaiser Family Foundation continues to be strong advocates for ACA.  They know and understand the importance of access to the healthcare system for all people in the United States.  This could be a bit damning for Obamacare.  Then I decided to find a fan and air conditioner to sit in front of for a few hours hoping the night would cool things down.  before I took some time to go the report that Thune points to as evidence of the #brokenpromise.

I had to look really hard to find the statistic that Thune proudly shouts out as an example that Obamacare is a failure.  I figured it would be printed in bold, neon-flashing words the second I looked at the report.  I had to look through things like:

Section One: Cost of Health Insurance

The average annual premiums in 2013 are $5,884 for single coverage and $16,351 for family coverage.  Average premiums increased 5% for single coverage and 4% for family coverage in the last year.  Family premiums have increased 80% since 2003 and have more than doubled since 2002.  Average family premiums for workers in small firms (3-199 workers) ($15,581) are significantly lower than average family premiums for workers in larger firms (200 or more workers) ($16,715).
Holy COW!  Did you see that little fact published under the heading of the first section of the report.  Health coverage went up-- wait, that can't be right-- only 4% for family coverage.  
That is more than inflation, but much lower to other years and no where did I find the 19%.  So where did Thune get it?  Probably from a staffer that dug and dug.  On Exhibit 1.11, you can see the average cost for family coverage insurance from 1999 until 2013.  From 2010 to 2011, the cost for a family went up from $13,770 to $15,073 for a 9.4% increase.  The 2012 cost was $15,745 or an increase 4.5%.  Of course you can see the information above that shows it went up 4% (actually 3.8%).  Hmmmmm.
The ACA passed in March of 2010, but many of the actions of the law didn't occur until later.  The ban of insurers jacking up prices or kicking people off insurance just because they got sick took place in September of 2010.   At the same time, insurance companies were no longer allowed to use pre-existing conditions like acne to avoid coverage for children.  This is at the end of 2010.  What didn't take place was the cost containment feature of ACA which required insurance companies to pay 80% to 85% of premiums dollars collected on health costs and claims (Called the Medical Loss Ratio).  That happened January 2011.  With the cost containment in place, the cost increase has been under 5% a year.  Under the ACA we are seeing more coverage, more protections for the insured, and more services to improve the overall health at a slower rate of increase.
I guess John Thune wants to go back to the day he was elected a Senator from our great state.  According to the same graph Thune uses from 2004-2005 there was a 9.3%.  From 2004-2008 (when Obama was elected) cost increased by 27.4%.  From 2004-2010 (The year the law was passed) costs went up 38.4%.  I guess Mr. Thune thinks that the broken promises were to insurance companies that were able to jack up costs and spend them on administrative costs (AKA bonuses for CEOs).  Senator Thune, I don't want to go back to those days.  Please be honest with the people of South Dakota, we deserve it.

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