To the editor:
Now that the Oct. 1 date for the start of enrolling in the insurance exchanges under Obamacare is fast approaching there has been much in the news and on the evening talk shows about health insurance premium costs. There are those, usually Republicans, that blame Obamacare and point to studies that are showing significant increases in insurance premiums, triple digit increases in some states. Then there are those, usually Democrats, that point out that other studies they know of are pointing to single digit increases and, in some cases, reductions in premiums. Those of the latter belief are not being asked to explain just how insurance plans today may be seeing a small increase in premium much less any reduction. My bet is anyone that has a plan today that has seen a single digit increase or a reduction has 1) lost some coverages such as dental or vision that are generally separate from a medical plan, and are easier to eliminate, or had other loss of coverages and/or has 2) seen an increase in their deductible, co-insurance and/or co-pays. When you hear someone say they had a very minimal increase or perhaps even a reduction in their insurance premium you can bet they may have traded for a lower premium or minimal increase by incurring more out-of-pocket cost and/or have lost coverages.
An NBC news article reported the Congressional Budget Office predicts that 23 million people who don’t have health insurance now will get it on one of the exchanges that are to begin providing coverage Jan. 1, 2014. According to the report, more than 18 million of them will qualify for a federal subsidy averaging $6,000 a year to help them purchase the insurance. Obama told us during the campaign he wanted the rich to pay their fair share and stated he wanted the additional revenue to help pay down the deficit. The top tax rate was increased on the rich and is estimated to raise some $60 to $70 billion a year. Those 18 million eligible for the $6,000 subsidy will cost $108 billion. Raise $60 to $70 billion and turn around and give tax credits in the amount of $108 billion is obviously not a way to reduce the deficit.