Monday, November 30, 2009

Misleading Headline for a Very Good Article

The Hill has a very good article summarizing the CBO's analysis of the senate health care bill's impact on health insurance premiums.

See if the headline matches the news article and then ask yourself, did the headline writer read the story?

Here's the headline:

"CBO: Senate bill would increase individual insurance premiums"

Here's the CBS' findings as summarized by the reporter:

1. "It finds the Senate legislation would reduce premiums by up to 3 percent for 134 million people who get insurance as a job benefit at a large company. This population is by far the largest component of the health insurance market: When the reforms kick in, 70 percent of people with coverage would get it from their jobs, a slight increase from the current rate."

2. "The average premium for people who work at large companies would remain about the same: $7,300 annually for an individual plan and $20,100 for a family policy."

3. "For small businesses that cover their workers in the so-called small group market, the average change in insurance premiums would range from a 2 percent decrease to a 1 percent increase. Under the bill, 13 percent of insured people would fall into this category. Factoring in new subsidies available to people with incomes below 400 percent of poverty, individuals in this market would pay 8 percent to 11 percent less than they do now."

4. "The direst finding for Democrats — and the figure most highlighted by Republicans — is health insurance premiums would be 10 percent to 13 percent higher for the 13.3 million people required to buy insurance under the bill, compared to what they would pay absent the legislation."

but please note the caveats to #4:

a. the [expensive] subsidies noted to offset those increases [a public option that was open for every American citizen would eliminate the need for the subsidies since that would drive down costs] for 17.7 million people (57% of those who will see their premiums increased)

b. the reason for the increase - better quality care

"One of the chief reasons insurance premiums would be higher for some people is that reform would require insurance companies to offer everyone in the individual and small-group market more generous and more stable coverage and increase competition among insurers, the report notes."

In other words, the price isn't really going up, the services that you are required to pay for are.

So, back to my original question? Did the person who wrote the headline read the article?

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