As the October 1st deadline for enrollment in the ObamaCare exchanges creeps closer and pressure mounts on the administration to sign up as many people as possible, The New York Times is pitching in to promote the scheme – and skewing the facts to do it.
In a front-page piece that proclaims, “Health Plan Cost for new Yorkers Set to Fall 50%,” the Times put a decidedly partisan spin on the federal health care law. The article unquestioningly quotes an administration official who said, “We’re seeing in New York what we’ve seen in other states like California and Oregon – that competition and transparency in the marketplaces are leading to affordable and new choices for families.”
In fact, the opposite is happening in California and Oregon. In late May, California announced its individual market premiums would increase by as much as 146 percent, even though state officials claimed otherwise. In Oregon, proposed individual monthly rates for plans on the forthcoming state exchange are, on average, slightly higher than the $207 monthly average in 2010.
But the Times article glosses over these inconvenient facts to focus on the good news: rates will go down for New Yorkers thanks to ObamaCare! But you have to get eight paragraphs down to find out that it’s not all New Yorkers – it’s a market of just 17,000 New Yorkers. And that’s not for the city but the entire state, which has a population of 19.57 million.
So ObamaCare will marginally benefit only 0.09% of the population of New York State. The reason for this modest reduction in premiums for a sliver of the population is that New York has one of the worst individual health insurance markets in the country, with many of the onerous regulations in ObamaCare already present in the state.
Health insurance markets vary widely from state to state. New York, New Jersey, and Vermont already have ObamaCare-like health insurance markets and their residents already pay more than twice what people in most other states pay. Such states might see a slight decrease in already exorbitantly high premiums. By contrast, states like Arizona, Utah, and Ohio will see massive increases in premiums, up to 100 percent, while Texas will likely see rates rise between 35 and 65 percent.
When that happens, though, don’t count on The New York Times to splash it all over the front page.