Conservative blogs were going wild today about a headline at the right wing CNSNews.com claiming that the cheapest health insurance policy under Obamacare will cost a family $20,000 per year. The Mahablog points out some errors in the report. While this number might not be correct, Kevin Drum reminds readers that one reason we needed health care reform is that health care has become this expensive. He points out that health care coverage currently costs a family an average of $16,000, so projections for the future based upon $20,000 might not be that far off.
Some conservative sites have claimed that this would be devastating to lower income families (as if they really care). Actually the Affordable Care Act includes subsidies to assist lower income families to pay for coverage. The Affordable Care Act also would expand Medicaid (granted not an ideal solution) which would assist many lower income families, but several states under Republican control are refusing to participate with this program.
A major reason why insurance prices will continue to rise is that Republicans (along with Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman) opposed measures which would help reduce costs. Republicans are in a poor position to complain about the Affordable Care Act considering that they totally failed to do their jobs and participate in the legislative process. If the Republicans had acted responsibly and worked for compromises in the Act, as opposed to making it clear they would vote against it regardless of what it contained, they could have had considerable influence on the final law. Obama started out with an old Republican plan, and it was clear Democrats would have been willing to compromise further to get it passed with bipartisan support as opposed to squeaking by as it did.
Of course Republicans do not really want any measures which would cut health care costs as this would mean less money for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. If we were really concerned about costs, a single-payer plan would be far more cost effective, but none of the conservative bloggers complaining about the cost of health insurance seemed to support this option.