The New York Times Issues a Press Release for ObamaCare

6c89hey i heard you got published 600x400 The New York Times Issues a Press Release for ObamaCare

Over the weekend, The New York
Times published an unsigned
editorial defending President Obama’s health care overhaul. The
headline describes the piece as a “report card” on the health law
on its third anniversary, but it does not attempt to grade
ObamaCare so much as extoll its virtues; it’s barely
distinguishable from an administration press release.
The editorial offers a litany of facts and statistics in support
of the law, pointing out the “considerable benefits” it has already
delivered. But there’s less than meets the eye to many of these
supposed benefits—and, perhaps more importantly, the editorial
completely ignores the cost of providing them.
The piece notes, for example, that “private insurers are now
required to cover children with pre-existing conditions, which
means that an estimated 17 million such children have been
protected against being uninsured.” The fact that the Times points
only to the entire class of people who have been “protected”
suggests that it cannot determine how many, if any, have actually
taken advantage of the benefit. Certainly it directly affects far
less than 17 million children. Initial estimates indicated that
somewhere between 31,000 and 72,000 would be covered as a result of
the new requirement.
The Times also declines to note that at
least half a dozen insurers ;responded to the requirement
by simply refusing to offer child-only health policies. How many
children benefited from this side-effect of the regulation?
The editorial also cites the statistic that “some 71 million
Americans have received at least one free preventive service, like
a mammogram or a flu shot, and an additional 34 million older
Americans got free preventive services in 2012 under Medicare.”
Here the resemblance to an administration press release becomes
even sharper; this was literally the subject
of a Health and Human Services press release last week. And like
that press release, the Times
fails to note that the allegedly “free” preventive services
mandated by the law raise the price of health insurance
premiums—and, according to most studies, are of the sort that tend
to raise overall health spending.
It does, however, claim that the law is “saving consumers
money.” In support, the piece points to the law’s medical loss
ratio ((MLR) requirement, which requires insurers to spend 80
percent of health premium revenue on medical services or rebate the
difference, but unsurprisingly fails to note the fairly
strong reasons to believe ;that the requirement is actually
causing premiums to rise by creating incentives to charge high up
front premiums that can perhaps be rebated later.

The editorial also points to the law’s rate
review provisions, which it says have reduced the number of
insurance plans seeking large rate hikes. But once again, the
Times overstates its case. A 2012 review of the
rate-review provisions by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that
one in five rate requests ended up lower in states performing their
own review of rate increases, but also notes that because many of
those states already had rate-review programs in place prior to
ObamaCare’s passage, it’s not possible to fully attribute that
effect to the health law. And in states where rate-review was
conducted entirely by the federal government, and thus entirely
attributable to the law, it seems to make little difference: Kaiser
analyzed 48 federally administered rate-increase reviews; of the 37
rate hikes deemed “unreasonable” by HHS, only one was subsequently
withdrawn by the insurer—and it was later resubmitted at exactly
the same rate.
The Kaiser report also notes that insurers justified large rate
increases by saying that if necessary, they would make it up with
the rebates provided under the MLR rule—further suggesting that
insurers are acting on the incentives the provision provides to
charge high up front premiums.
But never mind all that. ObamaCare, the NYT editorial
says, is “a start toward reforming the costly, dysfunctional
American health system,” which is just what one would expect an
administration press release to say. ;


The New York Times Issues a Press Release for ObamaCare

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