Someone shared with me an article from the Forbes blog The Apothecary (link here: http://is.gd/5rTNEa — not a direct link because I don’t want to support the guy’s PageRank) which claims “Obamacare Will Increase Health Spending By $7,450 For A Typical Family of Four.” There was some debate about whether it’s misleading or not, so I checked it out.
The headline is misleading; “over 8 years” is a significant detail they conveniently omitted to generate clicks. The article projects an increase of $700-900 per year “average health spending for a family of 4.” But that’s a lie too. Well not technically, but practically speaking they’re lying. Here’s what the lie looks like, using the same data the author sourced in the article:
Truth: National Health Spending will increase by $62 billion per year MORE under the ACA than otherwise; in 2012, National Health Spending will be $5 trillion instead of $4.94 trillion.
Lie: “ObamaCare will boost health spending by ‘roughly $621 billion'” (Yeah, that’s OVER TEN YEARS; $62b per year when we’re currently at about ~$3 trillion is way less scary than “600 billion!!1”)
Lie: “The increase in national health spending amounts to $7,450 per family of 4.” (National Health Spending is not the same as how much YOU are going to pay. He starts this false equality here and cements it in the next lie. The source he linked estimates that per-enrollee premiums will increase by ~$50-100 per year: from $1,520/person/yr in 2012 to $2,254/person/yr in 2022, and out-of-pocket costs will increase similarly, for a total increase per person of ~$100-200/person/year, or using his math, an increase of “$4,885 for a family of 4 over 10 years!!” Why the difference between $7,450 and $4,885? See below.)
Lie: “Obamacare Will Increase Health Spending By $7,450 For A Typical Family of Four.” (This is a flat-out lie, built up by the previous ones. If your family spent $12,900 on healthcare last year, you’re projected to spend $13,350 on health next year, an increase of $450, or $9 per month per person. Sane families budget based on household expenses over a month or year, not based on GDP over 10 years. Sorry, sensationalist headline writers.)
So, that difference between “health spending” and your actual expenses? Well one cool bit of info in the data is that insurers are projected to cover a higher percentage of health spending year-over-year. In 2012 national out-of-pocket spending was $320 billion and insurance spending was $2 trillion; by 2022 it’s projected to be $458 billion and $3.7 trillion. You’ll notice that starts out as a 11%-72% split and ends up a 9%-75% split. So although national health spending will increase, insurers are paying for more and more of it.
The real story here is: “Health spending is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.8 percent from 2012-2022” and “Improving economic conditions, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage expansions, and the aging of the population, drive faster projected growth in health spending in 2014 and beyond.” Americans will spend more on healthcare because we’ll BE ABLE TO SPEND MORE ON HEALTH CARE.
While it’s true that premiums seem to be expected to go up, not down, under ObamaCare, it might be worth it nationally since so many more people will be insured (and thus hopefully healthy, productive, making everyone money, better in the long run.) What’s NOT true is that it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, other recent news has reported that ObamaCare insurance plans have been coming up with surprisingly low premiums, which seems to be throwing Republicans into a panic, trying to shut it down and do their best to make it as expensive/unpopular as possible. Kinda sad. “Government doesn’t work” isn’t a claim of theirs, it’s a promise.
I’ve uploaded my spreadsheet here if you’re interested in the numbers: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AnET_9kTEOlPdHo2c1BLWUdMdW5UcTl0QlVlWDJlUXc&usp=sharing
Finally, this article is actually a blog by Avik Roy, former Romney advisor. I wonder if he’s just intellectually lazy, or has some reason for exaggerating how much you’ll be spending under ObamaCare? Wake up, sheeple 🙂