Obamacare Architect: Obamacare Premium Increases Are ‘Going to Be Severe’ For ‘A Million People’

On Tuesday’s broadcast of CNN’s “The Lead,” Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the architects of Obamacare, stated that “There’s a million people” for whom Obamacare premium increases are “going to be severe — or uncomfortable.”

Emanuel said that “most” Americans are not seeing 25% premium increases, because they get subsidies. He added, “[T]here are some relatively simple fixes. One is better social marketing to get young people in. Another is these risk corridors for the insurance companies, so that they can keep premiums lower. Another is to change…how much older people pay versus younger people, to decrease the cost for younger people overall. And the real ultimate test, Jake, is, can we keep healthcare costs low, and then insurance premiums don’t have to go up. And, so far, the ACA has been doing a pretty good job keeping insurance premiums low, and we have to redouble those efforts.”

Emanuel later stated of the rate increase, “There’s a million people for whom this is going to be severe — or uncomfortable. We should be clear, though. There are lots of places where the increases are nowhere near what you are stating. For example, 12 states have increases of 10% or less, including big states like California, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey. Places like New Hampshire, where you ran an ad just a second ago, in fact, the increase is 2%, across the state on average. So, there’s a lot of variability. Arizona is high, but big, big population states are actually much lower. Rates have increased because they have bigger pools, and with bigger pools, the change from year to year is not so much. And I — you know, for a million people we need to find other solutions.”

Emanuel also argued, “In fact, if you look at health insurance premiums from the Bush era, and you graph the line as if it continued, the fact is that premiums have gone substantially down compared to where they would have been under President Bush, if those lines had continued, and people actually have saved. That doesn’t mean the premiums have actually gone down in real dollars, but they’ve gone down compared to what they would have been, and that is a substantial savings. Second of all, many people in the exchanges are actually getting a better deal than they would have, had they tried to get insurance individually.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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