Effect of new health care law on premiums debatable

Neither President Barack Obama nor Republicans who oppose him are entirely accurate about whether or not the new health care law will lower premiums. Obama insists it will, Republicans say otherwise.

Politico found Obama’s claims to be somewhat of a stretch. A new report showed middle-class families could save up to $2,300 in premiums, and small businesses could save up to $350 for each family. “But that’s compared to what their premiums would have been without the law,” reporter David Nather determined. “There are provisions that might help some people and businesses pay less for their premiums — just not everyone.”
For example, only businesses with 10 or less full-time employees who earn wages of less $25,000 get the full 35 percent credit. Premiums may be “significantly lower” in high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions, “but they’re still expensive,” Nather reports.
Republican claims that premiums have already risen are not entirely true either. “There have been a series of premium increases by insurers across the country, but it’s not always easy to tell what’s really due to the law and what’s not,” Nather writes. Regarding its request to increase premiums by 56 percent for people who opt to buy insurance on their own, Blue Shield of California stated the increase has little to do with the new law. “These rates reflect trends that were building long before health reform,” officials said.
“The bottom line is that the law’s early provisions may be pushing some people’s rates slightly higher, but they’re probably not a big factor,” Nather concludes. (Read more)
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