Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, continued his all-out assault on ObamaCare over the weekend with a tweet indicating Alabamians could experience a 60 percent increase in their health insurance premiums thanks to the president’s healthcare law. Only California, Idaho, Indiana and Maryland will experience more significant increases, according to a map embedded in the senator’s tweet.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) September 7, 2013
The source of the information displayed on the map was gleaned from a study called “The cost of future newly insured under the Affordable Care Act,” which was conducted by the Society of Actuaries.
“The main objective of this research is to estimate the morbidity change due to new participants in the individual market and the impact that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will have on filling the uninsured gap,” the Society of Actuaries states. “Research sponsored by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) predicts ACA-driven changes in individual market composition of the individual health care market could drive up underlying claims costs by an average of 32 percent nationally by 2017. The research also predicts high variability among states, with as many as 43 states experiencing a double-digit claims cost increase.”
But not everyone is convinced the data found in the Society of Actuaries study is unbiased.
Actuaries use predictive math to attempt to make sure insurers don’t run out of money to pay claims. If insurance companies didn’t exist, neither would actuaries. For that reason, ObamaCare supporters have been pushing back by pointing out ties between actuaries and the insurance industry.
The Society of Actuaries “portray themselves as this nonpartisan think tank when in fact everything about the study is by people who have a vested interest in the outcome of the study,” Birny Birnbaum, executive director of the Center for Economic Justice, told Every Day Health earlier this year.
Sen. Al Franken, D-MN, echoed that sentiment during a committee hearing in April when he asked an actuary representative what percentage of actuaries work for insurance companies. The representative could not answer the question, but Franken’s point was made — he believes the fix is in.
Supporters of the Affordable Care Act have been left with no other option but to refute the flood of evidence suggesting the law is going to do anything but make health insurance more affordable.
Sen. Max Baucus, D-MT, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and one of the key architects of ObamaCare, called the law’s implementation “a huge train wreck.”
A Kaiser Foundation poll released last month showed that 44 percent of Americans aren’t even sure if ObamaCare is still the law of the land. 42 percent say they have an unfavorable view of the law, while only 37 percent hold a favorable view.
Republicans have been united in their opposition to the Affordable Care Act, but have fractured recently over the best way to roll it back.
Some lawmakers are pushing to “defund” the law by passing a bill to fund every part of the federal government except for ObamaCare. Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, aided by conservative groups like Heritage Action for America and FreedomWorks, have been leading the “defund” charge. They have garnered over 1 million signatures on their “Don’t fund ObamaCare” online petition.
Other Republicans say the “defund” plan is flawed because it would require both the Democrat-controlled senate and president Obama to sign off, an outcome they consider to be highly unlikely.
Lawmakers return to Washington today after their summer recess. The Syria crisis will be addressed in short order, but attention will turn back to ObamaCare shortly after that.
Both sides of the aisle want to reach an agreement to fund the government before the current continuing resolution expires Sept. 30.
In the mean time, you can view the full Society of Actuaries ObamaCare study here.
Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims