Why mincing words - and numbers - does matter
Numbers can certainly tell stories, but it’s important to make sure all the correct numbers are included.
Consider the stories told by two reports released today regarding health insurance premiums under the Affordable Care Act.
One is from the White House. It says that when the ACA takes effect in 2014, 95 percent of Americans will find health insurance premiums at a cost below “earlier estimates”.
As the Washington Examiner astutely points out, however, below earlier estimates can still mean a lot more than what we pay right now.
The other report in stark contrast to the administration’s comes from Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, who looked at the White House report as it applies to the Volunteer State. His office found that premiums will increase by as much as 190 percent – compared to what they pay now, not on ‘earlier estimates’ of the ACA:
Today, a 27-year-old man in Memphis can buy a plan for as low as $41 a month. On the exchange, the lowest state average is $119 a month — a 190 percent increase.
Today, a 27-year-old woman in Nashville can also buy a plan for as low as $58 a month. On the exchange, the lowest-priced plan in Nashville is $114 a month — a 97 percent increase. Even with a tax subsidy, that plan is $104 a month, almost twice what she could pay today.
Today, women in Nashville can choose from 30 insurance plans that cost less than the administration says insurance plans on the exchange will cost, even with the new tax subsidy.
In Nashville, 105 insurance plans offered today will not be available in the exchange.
Here is a link to an interactive White House map of the United States indicating premium costs under the ACA.