As has so often been the case since Barack Obama took office in 2009, the editorialists at a major national business newspaper are reporting facts that the wire services and broadcast networks should have relayed to the American people weeks or months ago.
In this case, it's the Wall Street Journal. A Friday evening editorial published in Saturday's print edition directly refutes the Obama administration's key Obamacare memes involving affordability, choice, and the nature of the once-free health insurance market (bolds are mine):
ObamaCare's Plans Are Worse
How the Affordable Care Act raises prices and limits medical choices.
... the public is learning that ObamaCare's insurance costs more in return for worse coverage.
... This political mugging is especially unfair to the people whose plans on the current individual market are being taken away. The majority of these consumers are self-employed or small-business owners. They're middle class, rarely affluent. They took responsibility for their care without government aid, and unlike people in the job-based system, they paid with after-tax dollars.
Now they're being punished for the crime of not subsidizing ObamaCare, even though the individual market was never as dysfunctional or high cost as liberals claim. In 2012, average U.S. individual premiums were $190, ranging from a low of $123 in North Dakota to a high of $385 in Massachusetts. Average premiums for family plans fell that year by 0.5% to $412.
Those numbers come from the 13,000 different policies from 180 insurers sold on eHealthInsurance.com, the online shopping brokerage that works. ... This wide variety is proof that humans don't all want or need the same thing. If they did, there would be no need for a market and government could satisfy everybody.
... This year eHealth reported that its data show individual premiums must be 47% higher than the old average to fund the new categories in the individual market.
Meanwhile, ObamaCare's plans are limited to essentially four. Yes, four. ...
... all four tiers are scrap-metal grade, because the rules ObamaCare imposes to create a supposedly superior insurance product are resulting in an objectively inferior medical product. ...
... Nearly half of the ObamaCare plans are tightly managed HMOs, according to a McKinsey & Co. analysis. In states like California, Missouri and New Hampshire, many networks are 40% or 45% the size of those offered for normal commercial coverage. Patients face the prospect of waiting months and driving miles to clinics and county hospitals.
... The awful irony of this new ObamaCare health system is that all adults now enjoy mandated pediatric vision benefits, even if they don't have kids, but parents can't take their daughter to an expensive children's hospital if she gets really sick.
... If the old individual market was as bad as Mr. Obama said it was, then he shouldn't pretend it's a place worth going back to, even for a year's delay. His "fix" is necessary politically because ObamaCare's willful destruction of this alternative is the worst act of government mayhem since FDR's National Recovery Act. The Affordable Care Act's main achievement is turning out to be diminishing affordable care.
With all of the focus one aspect of Obama's false guarantee — namely "if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan" — nowhere near enough attention has been given to "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." As the Journal notes, the failure of that aspect of Obama's guarantee will have serious consequences for many with serious illnesses who will lose their ability to see part or all of their current medical team without incurring charges they simply can't afford to pay.
Yet the administration continues to claim that Obamacare's policies are "better" across the board than the "substandard" plans which have been offered on the individual market. Even ignoring the increased premiums under Obamacare, that often was not the case. When considering the premium increases vs. the value delivered under Obamacare, most of the old individual policies win in a rout.
It's good that the Journal has brought out these points. It would be much better if the nation's establishment press would do so in its daily reporting.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.