obamacare-abnormal

People who warn that President Obama’s healthcare law is in dire straits often point to rising health insurance premiums as proof. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has called premium increases on Affordable Care Act exchanges “astronomically high.” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), said premiums have “skyrocketed.”

But are these growing premiums actually high?

A new analysis from the Urban Institute found that the average unsubsidized premiums in the Affordable Care Act exchanges, commonly known as Obamacare, are actually 10% lower than the full premiums in the average employer plan nationally in 2016.

Source: Rising Obamacare premiums are still lower than employer-sponsored health insurance  |  LA Times

Obviously it wasn’t just the LA Times; WaPo, and the Morning Consult got in on the act too.  They all cited the same study from the aptly-named Urban Institute, a policy group founded by Lyndon Johnson to promote his own government programs.  Unsurprisingly, it is one of the largest think tanks today, and while it claims to be independent, its own Wikipedia page shows its clear tilt towards liberal initiatives.  Yet, it is still cited in major media as an “unbiased” source.

Forbes already did an excellent job of refuting this study; I suggest you give their bit a read.  Notably, the study does not account for differences in health plans, health plan availability, differences in copays and deductibles, tax incentives in employer-sponsored plans, and many other variables.  Forbes made a note that since Obamacare was rolled out, insurance claims in the cheaper policies with supposedly “high” deductibles skyrocketed. 

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I decided to look a little bit closer, not into the study, but into the Urban Institute itself.  How could an organization that was heavily cited by MSM as a respectable source put together such a limited, heavily biased study, with little if any empirical evidence?    I looked at the Urban Institute’s financial data for 2015, the most current year available, and examined the list of “funders” of the institute.  And what do you know…

urban-institute-2015-top-donors

…SIX of the top donors were US government agencies!  Some notables on the list:

So, The Urban Institute is directly funded by the federal government, specifically agencies that are active in promoting Obamacare and spreading misinformation about the law.  How can anyone cite any study from the Urban Institute as anything but biased?  Of course, the MSM will try to refute that by saying, “Only a few of the top donors are government entities, there are many others on the full list!”  And they would be right, they do accept funds from donors, notably foundations.  But take a closer look at a chart depicting Urban Institute’s revenue sources:

urban-institute-revenue

You guessed it: the feds are far and away the largest donor.  How is the federal government still funding this institute, and masquerading it as unbiased?  And given that the top federal bureaus funding the Urban Institute are involved in promoting Obamacare, how could anyone be surprised at the result of this study?

About the only thing that is unsurprising regarding this whole affair is that a government-funded study is so faulty and incomplete that it is almost completely worthless, yet it is still cited by the MSM as credible. 

If you’ve been reading my content, you know that I’ve had my own experience with the ACA, and of course its has been anything but enjoyable.  After getting my own policy in 2012, I do pay lower premiums than I did with my employer’s plan, but mostly because I accepted inferior coverage with a much higher deductible.  Notably, my plan is unavailable in the Obamacare exchanges and not offered by the provider anyway; similar plans are much more expensive.  I was very lucky from a timing perspective in choosing a plan that is ACA compliant, yet sold before the Obamacare exchanges existed.  Though I was recently informed I’ll be able to keep my plan for another year, I’m dreading the coming notification of my price increase.  Those who are in the Obamacare exchanges have not been nearly as fortunate as I have.

So we should all ask Carolyn Johnson and Caitlin Owens, the authors of the above MSM articles, about their Obamacare experience.  If Obamacare is so much cheaper, are they using it?  And how much are they saving?  While the law states that they must have health insurance, and a large enough employer must provide it, there is no law stating that individuals MUST purchase insurance from their employer.  Have either of the two of them “shopped” for insurance on the exchanges?

If I were to list a contract on Betfair, I imagine the money would be over 95% on them having employer-sponsored insurance.  Furthermore, the money would likely be squarely on the same coverage in the exchange being more expensive than their employer’s insurance. But don’t take my word for it: I linked to their respective Twitter accounts above.  Go and ask them for yourself, or just re-tweet my queries to them.

If the MSM is going to use a flawed study to promote Obamacare as cheaper than employer sponsored insurance, than don’t allow them to hide behind their own hypocrisy; demand that they use Obamacare themselves. 

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Note: While inspecting the Urban Institute’s donors, a curious name popped up: Everytown for Gun Safety, AKA the anti-gun organization funded entirely by Michael Bloomberg.  I wonder where the Urban Institute stands on gun control?