CBO: The GOP Ignores The Winners, Looks To The Losers

Here's the latest health care reform claim, by Rep. Mike Pence: 

"The CBO has confirmed what every American already knows, the Democrats' plan for a government takeover of health care will dramatically raise health care costs on working families. This latest CBO study reveals that the health care bill before the U.S. Senate will raise individual insurance premiums by up to 13 percent. That means every family that refuses the government's one-size-fits-all plan, will be forced to spend an additional $2,100 a year to keep their current health care. 

Pence doesn't say, but here's where he gets the figure:

Average premiums per policy in the nongroup market in 2016 would be roughly $5,800 for single policies and $15,200 for family policies under the proposal, compared with roughly $5,500 for single policies and $13,100 for family policies under current law.

Fairly clear, right?  Only if you're suddenly blinded.

The very next sentence in the CBO report is: "Those figures indicate what enrollees would pay, on average, not accounting for the new federal subsidies. The majority of nongroup enrollees (about 57 percent) would receive subsidies via the new insurance exchanges, and those subsidies, on average, would cover nearly two-thirds of the total premium, CBO and JCT."'

For those receiving subsidies -- the people who Pence's statement is targeting because they're the most vulnerable -- the CBO says that "...the amount that subsidized enrollees would pay for nongroup coverage would be roughly 56 percent to 59 percent lower, on average, than the nongroup premiums charged under current law."

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People who don't qualify for the subsidies and don't want to  keep their current plans may find that their  "average premiums would increase by somewhat less than the 10 percent to 13 percent difference for the nongroup market as a whole."  These people will pay more than they would today, assuming they don't purchase their insurance before the changes kick in.

The critical point here is that the subsidies will significantly offset the premium increases for the majority of people buying insurance individually. 

The Democrats need to confront reality here, too: the cost of health care, for some people, will go up. But for most people, it'll go down -- and these estimates don't include the various unscoreable administrative savings and cost-containment mechanisms that will be built into the plan.