Shocking AP Fact Check: Premiums Will Rise Under ObamaCare

It's no shock to rational, thinking people that healthcare legislation currently before Congress will do nothing to halt rising insurance premiums, but that the folks at the Associated Press would come to such a conclusion AND write about it is quite surprising.

There it was in a piece published Wednesday called, "FACT CHECK: Premiums would rise under Obama plan."

Readers are strongly encouraged to fasten seatbelts tightly, for they're about to enter what has to be an alternate universe (h/t Ed Morrissey):

Buyers, beware: President Barack Obama says his health care overhaul will lower premiums by double digits, but check the fine print.

Premiums are likely to keep going up even if the health care bill passes, experts say.

Shhh. Wait. It got better:

Listening to Obama pitch his plan, you might not realize that's how it works. [...]

An analysis by the Congressional Budget Office of earlier Senate legislation suggested savings could be fairly modest.

It found that large employers would see premium savings of at most 3 percent compared with what their costs would have been without the legislation. That would be more like a few hundred dollars instead of several thousand.

The claim that people buying coverage individually would save 14 percent to 20 percent comes from the same budget office report, prepared in November for Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind. But the presidential sound bite fails to convey the full picture.

The budget office concluded that premiums for people buying their own coverage would go up by an average of 10 percent to 13 percent, compared with the levels they'd reach without the legislation.

Imagine that. Real facts about ObamaCare from the AP as the Democrats try to garner enough votes to get it passed.

Who'd have thunk it?

Unfortunately, this piece still didn't accurately reflect the entire truth as Ed Morrissey noted Wednesday:

The insurance policies of the future under ObamaCare would provide more comprehensive benefits, but that’s because ObamaCare would outlaw more modest plans.  The federal mandates of ObamaCare would mean that healthy people would no longer have the choice of low-cost, high-deductible plans that encourage direct spending on routine medical issues, the exact kind of policies that real reform would emphasize.  Obama and the Democrats want to force young, healthy people into committing more money into risk pools in order to keep premium increases down for others — in essence, subsidizing medical care for older, higher-risk pool members.

Despite this oversight, the AP did a pretty good job, especially as it referred to a speech Obama just made this week in a Cleveland suburb:

"You'll be able to buy in, or a small business will be able to buy into this pool," Obama said. "And that will lower rates, it's estimated, by up to 14 to 20 percent over what you're currently getting. That's money out of pocket." [...]

"Your employer, it's estimated, would see premiums fall by as much as 3,000 percent," said the president, "which means they could give you a raise."

A White House press spokesman later said the president misspoke; he had meant to say annual premiums would drop by $3,000.

It could be a long wait.

Makes you wonder what might have happened during the presidential campaign in 2008 if the AP had spent its time fact-checking Obama's stump speeches rather than gushing and fawning over them.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.