Most of the coverage I’m seeing today of the new CBO report on health reform’s effects on premiums is .totally in the tank for the Obama administration. CBO’s report argues (contrary to a recent paper by Jonathan Gruber, the Obama administration’s favorite health economist) that health reform will INCREASE the cost of private health premiums. There’s no other way to read the thing. Yet the NYT ["No Big Cost Rise in U.S. Premiums Is Seen in Study"] and Wash Post ["Senate health bill gets a boost"] and especially Ezra Klein ["Congressional Budget Office: Reform Will Bring Down the Cost of Health Insurance"] are all saying the report vindicates the Democrats on cost. That’s insane. (The WSJ’s ["Some Health Premiums to Rise"] is the only news account I’ve seen that reports it straight.).This kind of stuff does nothing to reassure most people that that the MSM is actually doing their job. Personally, I don't have a problem with agenda driven reporting...as LONG THE AGENDA IS OPENLY ADMITTED TO!!!! But the NYT, WaPo, LaT and ChTrib, et al; attempt to hide behind a facade of impartiality. They didn't vet Mr. Obama during the campaign, and now are repeating that with this government's blatant attempt to seize health care.
How are reporters distorting this? Mainly in two ways.
1) They’re emphasizing that health reform will leave employer-based premiums largely unaffected. This is supposed to be a huge accomplishment. But health reform does virtually nothing to alter employer-based health care—it’s focused on the individual “nongroup” market—so to say it will have virtually no impact on employer-based premiums is like saying it will have virtually no effect on global warming.
[2) They’re] emphasizing that health reform will lower premiums for the majority of participants in the nongroup market by up to 60 percent. It will do nothing of the sort. It will INCREASE premiums in this market by 10 to 13 percent. That it will do so for good reasons (regulatory changes will require insurers to provide more actual insurance to customers) may justify the increase, but it doesn’t contradict it. Premiums will be higher because of health reform. The bill alleviates this for more than half of all participants in the new exchanges by extending income-based subsidies that will reduce the out-of-pocket cost of premiums by up to 60 percent as compared to what purchasers would pay without health reform. But that shouldn’t be mistaken for lowering the actual cost, which will still be borne by the nearly half of all purchasers who don’t receive subsidies. [E.A. emphasis if Mr. Kaus']
P.S.: Klein seems particularly disingenuous, discussing the report as if premiums would rise only because newly empowered individuals would choose to buy better policies.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
When supportes of Mr. Obama's plans for the government siezure of health care begin to complain about the coverage, you know it has to be a bit untruthful. Here's what Mickey Kaus of Kausfiles reader sent him the following analysis of media coverage of the CBO's recent report on ObamaCare: