CBO: Most Americans Wouldn’t See A Post-Reform Premium Cost Increase
A new report from the Congressional Budget Office suggests that insurance premiums for most Americans would not cost more after a health care overhaul.
"A long-awaited analysis shows health insurance rates would generally hold steady or decline for most Americans those covered by large employers if the Senate health overhaul bill became law," Kaiser Health News reports. "The report released Monday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office described a different picture for people who buy their own coverage. Some would face moderate increases, while others would pay much less than they do now. Not surprisingly, people who qualify for subsidies ... would see their premiums drop." KHN also has a full copy of the report (Appleby, 11/30).
The New York Times: "The eagerly awaited report, which came as the Senate began debate on the legislation, provided Democrats with ammunition against Republicans who have criticized the bill on the ground that it would raise costs for a majority of Americans. Centrist Democrats like Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, whose votes are vital to President Obama's hopes of getting the bill approved, had feared that the measure would drive up costs for people with employer-sponsored coverage. After reading the budget office report, Mr. Bayh said he was reassured on that point." Republican senators, however, including "Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, said the report validated their concerns. They focused on the prediction that unsubsidized premiums in the individual insurance market, less than a fifth of those with health insurance, would rise an average of 10 percent to 13 percent" (Pear and Herszenhorn, 11/30).
The Wall Street Journal: "According to the analysis, under current law some 14 million people are expected to buy health policies on their own by 2016. Average premiums would be roughly $5,800 for single policies and $15,200 for family policies under the legislation, compared with $5,500 for single policies and $13,100 for family policies under current law. The legislation is expected to more than double the number of people who would buy health policies on their own" (Adamy and Hitt, 12/1).
The Christian Science Monitor: "The CBO report is highly qualified. Any estimates of the impact of such substantial changes in the health insurance and health care sectors must reflect 'considerable uncertainty,' the report concludes. But the nuances quickly fell out of the political firestorm around healthcare reform. To the insurance industry, today's report confirms that 'the current health care reform proposal fails to bend the health care cost curve and will result in double-digit premium increases for millions of Americans,' said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, in a statement. Consumer groups applauded the report as 'great news for health reform supporters'" (Chaddock, 11/30).
The Washington Post: "Monday's CBO report offers the first objective analysis of the effect on premiums. An earlier study commissioned by America's Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group, warned that the Senate bill would dramatically increase insurance premiums, but the study's authors at PricewaterhouseCoopers later acknowledged that they had ignored major pieces of the legislation in their calculations" (Montgomery, 12/1).
CBS News: "Incoming White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer wrote on the White House blog that the CBO report 'contains more good news about what reform will mean for families struggling to keep up with skyrocketing premiums under the broken status quo'" (Condon, 11/30).
Time highlighted some of the main aspects of the report, including: "For small businesses (50 workers and less) and those who work for them, the projected difference in premiums is also small, a decrease of between 0% and 2%" (Tumulty, 11/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.