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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The Washington Post Still Can't Get It Right, Health Exchanges Need Healthy People, It Doesn't Matter If They Are Young

The Washington Post Still Can't Get It Right, Health Exchanges Need Healthy People, It Doesn't Matter If They Are Young

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Tuesday, 21 January 2014 07:56

Why is hard to understand that a healthy person who pays $6,000 a year into the insurance system is more helpful to its finances than a healthy person who pays $2,000 a year? That is the basic story when it comes to older people in the exchanges (ages 55-64) and younger people. The average premium for this older group is three times as much as for the younger group. Large portions of both age groups will require little or no health care services over the course of a year.

This is why it makes relatively little difference if the exchanges have a skewing of enrollees by age, as a Kaiser report showed last year. It does matter hugely if there is a skewing by health condition with only less healthy people signing up. This is why it is annoying to see the Post once again tell readers:

"If not enough young and healthy people sign up on the federal and state insurance marketplaces, that could lead to a cycle of increasing premiums and decreasing enrollment, or what some call a 'death spiral.'"

The word "young" just takes up space and makes the article less accurate. The program could face a death spiral if enough healthy people do not sign up. It doesn't matter whether or not they are young.

Comments (3)Add Comment
...
written by djb, January 21, 2014 10:59
obviously they are told what opinions to have and express

or at least it is suggested what opinion to have

a journalist worth his salt would research the issue

but perhaps they might not find out what their bosses want them too
Correction...!
written by Mark Brucker, January 21, 2014 4:30
Why is IT SO hard to understand that a healthy person who pays $6,000 a year into the insurance system is more helpful to its finances than a healthy person who pays
Death Spiral?
written by Bart, January 22, 2014 5:43

Why not instead call it instead a "Vicious Circle"?

In the long run...

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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