The National Journal, hardly a reliable outlet for the right wing noise machine, engages in a bit of ObamaCare bashing, including a misstatement of fact:
Obama's Affordable Care Act Looking a Bit Unaffordable
Independent National Journal analysis finds premiums higher under Obamacare as employers weigh dropping coverage.
Republicans have long blamed President Obama's signature health care initiative for increasing insurance costs, dubbing it the "Unaffordable Care Act."
Turns out, they might be right.
For the vast majority of Americans, premium prices will be higher in the individual exchange than what they're currently paying for employer-sponsored benefits, according to a National Journal analysis of new coverage and cost data. Adding even more out-of-pocket expenses to consumers' monthly insurance bills is a swell in deductibles under the Affordable Care Act.
Those aren't the White House talking points, which emphasize that high prices on the exchanges won't matter to most people because Mitt Romney's sons, or the rich, or anyway, taxpayers will be providing subsidies. Eventually ther NJ addresses that.
Health law proponents have excused the rate hikes by saying the prices in the exchange won't apply to the millions receiving coverage from their employers. But that's only if employers continue to offer that coverage--something that's looking increasingly uncertain. Already, UPS, for example, cited Obamacare as its reason for nixing spousal coverage.
The UPS example is problematic, since they only dropped spousal coverage for spouses eligible for coverage at their own jobs. Pressing on...
And while a Kaiser Family Foundation report found that 49 percent of the U.S. population now receives employer-sponsored coverage, more companies are debating whether they will continue to be in the business of providing such benefits at all.
Economists largely agree there won't be a sea change among employers offering coverage. But they're also saying small businesses are still in play.
Caroline Pearson, vice president at Avalere Health, a health care and public policy advisory firm, said there's a calculation low-wage companies will make to determine if there's cost savings in sending employees to the exchanges.
"The amount you have to gross up their wages so they can get their own insurance and the cost of the penalties may add up to less than the cost of providing care," she said.
It's a choice companies are already making. The number of employers offering coverage has declined, from 66 percent in 2003 to 57 percent today, according to Kaiser's study.
Yet another wrinkle is that employers can restructure jobs so that employees are part time, thereby minimizing any employer penalties.
The NJ offers this mysterious economics lesson:
"To any small employer, it's a no-brainer," said Devon Herrick, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative policy research organization. "If workers can get better coverage that's subsidized, it makes sense for the employer to stop providing health insurance."
Why that logic does not apply to large employers is left unexplained.
And what about the subsidies?
Whether the quality of care in the new market is comparable to private offerings remains to be seen. But one thing is clear: The cost of care in the new market doesn't stack up. A single wage earner must make less than $20,000 to see his or her current premiums drop or stay the same under Obamacare, an independent review by National Journal found. That's equivalent to approximately 34 percent of all single workers in the U.S. seeing any benefit in the new system. For those seeking family-of-four coverage under the ACA, about 43 percent will see cost savings. Families must earn less than or equal to $62,300, or they, too, will be looking at a bigger bill.
Those numbers include the generous tax subsidies designed to make the new system more attractive to consumers.