health insurance

The headline was splashed across the top of the Drudge Report this morning: “Obamacare Cost Caps Delayed Until 2015.” The link went to a New York Times story about another Obamacare regulatory decision—in this case, a ruling that some employers have one more year before they must comply with one of the law’s key consumer protections.

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First they said Obamacare would create death panels. Then they said the law would cover undocumented immigrants. Now they’re saying President Barack Obama gave Congress a special exemption, so that lawmakers and their staff members aren’t subject to the law.

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President Obama got pretty worked up about his health care law during Friday’s press conference. And it's not surprising.

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You’re a 26-year-old single dude, holding down a pair of part-time jobs tending bar and painting houses, and making about $24,000 a year. Thanks to Obamacare, you can finally get decent health insurance, just like people with full-time jobs at large companies do. But when you go online to check out your options, you see that even the cheapest “bronze” plan, which has high deductibles and co-payments, will cost you about $100 a month. Obamacare’s penalty for carrying no insurance next year is less than one-tenth of that. Do you buy the insurance anyway?

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The latest state to publish insurance rates under Obamacare is Maryland. The results seem consistent with the pattern we’ve seen so far. When state officials want the law to work, it works pretty well. And Maryland officials want the law to work. 

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It was one thing when Obamcare critics started fighting attempts to educate people about the law's insurance options—warning sports leagues not to promote the new benefits, for example, or criticzing states undertaking outreach efforts of their own. Now some conservatives are taking it a step farther. They're launching campaigns designed to discourage young people from using the law to get insurance.

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Leaders of the Republican Party are still predicting that Obamacare will be a disaster, one that will wreak havoc on American health care. Most of their allies in the media say the same thing. But a small group of conservative intellectuals has been warning that the law might not be so apocalyptical—that, with full implementation about to begin, wholesale repeal may no longer be possible.

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Obamacare got some bad news late Thursday afternoon. State officials in Indiana announced that premiums for residents buying insurance on their own next year would be 72 percent higher than the premiums such people typically pay this year. They also announced that the typical cost for an individual plan next year would be $570, up from $255 this year.

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President Obama on Thursday touted some good news about Obamacare. And, lord knows, he’s earned the right. Republicans and conservative intellectuals keep seizing on setbacks—some real, some imagined—and predicting that Obamacare will be a catastrophe.

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Obamacare got some good press this morning, for a change. According to state officials in New York, insurance premiums for residents buying coverage on their own will fall by 50 percent next year, thanks to the new health care law. That’s before taking into account the federal subsidies that, for many and possibly most insurance buyers, will lower premiums even more. You’ve heard of “rate shock”? This would be the good kind—assuming it all checks out.

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