While President Barack Obama was in town this week for a speech, Minnesota 2
Congressional District Republican Rep. John Kline used the opportunity to ask him some pointed questions -- over Twitter.
Kline’s claim is spot on.
Kline is correct that Obama promised that premiums would drop by $2,000 – by $2,500 in fact – for an average family.
That’s a promise Obama made over and over again on the campaign trail, one that PolitiFact’s Obameter says has been broken.
While it’s true that premiums have declined for some people, there’s plenty of evidence that the Affordable Care Act has caused premiums increase now that the law is in full affect. The main reasons are that insurance companies can no longer reject customers who have preexisting conditions and insurance must cover some basic services, like hospitalizations, maternity care and prescription drugs.
All that adds up to pricier plans for people who previously had bare-bones plans.
The rest of Kline’s statement refers to a report recently issued by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The administration predicts that roughly two-thirds of small businesses that offer health insurance will pay more for coverage.
Here’s what the CMS report says:
“We are estimating that 65 percent of the small firms are expected to experience increases in their premium rates while the remaining 35 percent are anticipated to have rate reductions. The individuals and families that receive health insurance coverage from their small employer generally contribute a portion of the premium. For this analysis, if the employer premium increases, it is assumed that the employee contribution will rise as well.”
The reason? New rules that apply only to organizations with fewer than 50 employees that will make insurance more expensive for firms that have relatively healthy workers and cheaper for companies that have relatively unhealthy workers.
The rule is meant to prevent a situation where one employee’s expensive treatment sends everyone else’s premiums skyrocketing, too.
Like Kline, Republicans have been using the report to criticize Obamacare. Democrats point out that the criticism doesn’t account for substantial tax credits available to small businesses that meet certain size requirements.
For 140 characters, Kline doesn’t leave much out aside from the fact that some small businesses that see higher premiums may benefit from tax credits to bring those costs down.
But overall, Kline’s claim earns an accurate.
Kaiser Family Foundation, 2013 Employer Health Benefits Survey
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Report to Congress on the impact on premiums for individuals and families with employer-sponsored health insurance from the guaranteed issue, guaranteed renewal, and fair health insurance premiums provisions of the Affordable Care Act
Minnesota Public Radio, 7 things to know about MNsure and the Affordable Care Act in 2014
Troy Young, spokesman Rep. John Kline