Obama: Rising health care costs are slowing down, except when they're not
On Thursday at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management (tuition and fees, $88,807 ) in Evanston, Illinois, President Barack Obama (D) praised himself and his administration before an adoring audience of academics and Democratic politicians. Among his other incorrect remarks, given as fact:
Of course, even if you have the right education, for decades, one of the things that made it harder for families to make ends meet and businesses to grow was the high cost of health care. And so the third cornerstone had to be health care reform.
In the decade before the Affordable Care Act, aka, Obamacare -- (laughter and applause) -- in the decade before the Affordable Care Act, double-digit premium increases were common. CEOs called them one of the biggest challenges to their competitiveness. And if your employer didn’t drop your coverage to avoid these costs, they might pass them on to you and take them out of your wages.
Today, we have seen a dramatic slowdown in the rising cost of health care. When we passed the Affordable Care Act, the critics were saying, what are you doing about cost. Well, let me tell you what we’ve done about cost. If your family gets your health care through your employer, premiums are rising at a rate tied for the lowest on record. And what this means for the economy is staggering. If we hadn’t taken this on, and premiums had kept growing at the rate they did in the last decade, the average premium for family coverage today would be $1,800 higher than they are. Now, most people don't notice it, but that’s $1,800 you don’t have to pay out of your pocket or see vanish from your paycheck. That’s like a $1,800 tax cut. That's not for folks who signed up for Obamacare. That's the consequences of some of the reforms that we’ve made.
And because the insurance marketplaces we created encourage insurers to compete for your business, in many of cities they’ve announced that next year’s premiums -- well, something important is happening here -- next year’s premiums are actually falling in some of these markets. One expert said this is “defying the law of physics.” But we’re getting it done. And it is progress we can be proud of.
So we’re slowing the cost of health care, and we’re covering more people at the same time.
Meanwhile, back in the real world a few miles away in Chicago, retired Chicago teachers received the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund 2015 Health Insurance Handbook and Open Enrollment Guide in the mail. (Why is it that only health care insurance seems to have an open enrollment--or limited period to obtain health insurance--while homeowners, auto or any other form of insurance seems to be available year round?) And right there, on page 2, in the section entitled 2015 Plan Changes and Updates
Overall rates for CTPF plans increased an average of 9.4% for 2015. A portion of the increase (3.3%) is attributed to Federal Affordable Care Act fees.
Is Obamacare (this isn't academia so no "laughter and applause" please) really "defying the law of physics," not to mention economics? Without Obamacare would the rates have increased more? Less? Is this the "dramatic slowdown in the rising cost of health care" Obama bragged about?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Meanwhile, needing health insurance and having no choice, retired teachers will pay the higher insurance rate, including the 3.3% Federal Affordable Care Act fee--laws of physics and economics be damned.