Washington Post Uses Faulty Logic to Highlight Anger Over Obamacare

Print
Monday, 04 November 2013 05:19

The Washington Post lead front page article has a headline telling readers that "sticker shock" is leading to "anger" over Obamacare. Whatever the reality of this anger, the information presented for the piece's poster child is wrong.

The article begins by telling readers about a 58-year-old lawyer in Washington, DC who will see her premiums increase from $297 a month to $463 a month with a policy purchased through the exchange. The piece tells that with the policy purchased through the exchange her maximum out of pocket expenses would double. It then informs readers:

"That means she could end up paying at least $5,000 more a year than she does now."

This conclusion does not follow. If this lawyer actually did hit the new maximum under the policy available through the exchanges, then she would almost certainly have been dropped from her other plan, since the insurer would otherwise be losing money on her. (If we assume the information given here is accurate, then if she just hit the maximum deductible for the exchange plan, it implies that her current insurer would have been paying out $3020 more over the course of the year than the insurer in the exchange. This is on a policy for which it collects $3,564 in premiums.)

Under current law, insurers can drop people with high bills or raise their rates. That is the point of Obamacare; it protects people who get serious illnesses from rate hikes or losing their insurance.