Friday, February 01, 2013

Distorted Reports of Future Health Insurance Costs

My wife brought to my attention the breathless claim presently coming from right-wing ideologues, courtesy of, a site that is comprised of little but hyper-partisan dog whistles,
The Internal Revenue Service issued a report Wednesday in which it estimated that under Obamacare, the least expensive health insurance plan available to a family in 2016 would cost $20,000 annually according to
If you investigate, what do you actually find? You don't find a projection of future health insurance costs. You find an example of how the regulation works using a set of arbitrarily selected, largely round numbers. (See page 70.)

I don't know if the people behind this story are fools or frauds... at this point, it's likely some of each... but if you care about appearing informed it's not something you should fall for.


  1. After reading i don't understand what "Obamacare" is trying to do with us, do you think a low income person will be able to afford $20,000 annually for health insurance?.

    1. The $20,000 figure was a round figure used as an example. It is not a projection. Think of "word problems" from your early elementary education. "A passenger train was going down the tracks at 80 MPH" - that's not a statement that all passenger trains travel at 80 MPH.

      Also, the issue was never whether a low income family would "be able to afford $20,000 annually for health insurance". As the example indicates, that number was inserted as a theoretical unsubsidized cost of insurance. The family receives a significant subsidy.

      If you walk away from a source that decries the $20K figure with the impressions (a) the $20,000 figure is a projection, and (b) a poor family would have to pay that amount out-of-pocket, it's pretty much a given that the article you read was designed to mislead you.


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