Gardner Overlooks Fact That Insurance Would Go Up More Under Obamacare Replacement Than Under Obamacare

Citing increased health-insurance costs under Obamacare, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) stated on a conservative radio show Tuesday that the “most important thing we can do for this country is to make sure we have a replacement for Obamacare.”

“I want to make sure that any bill we put forth sets out and corrects the damage that was done by the Affordable Care Act,” Gardner said on the Joe Pags Show. “If you look at the damage done to the individual marketplaces, if you look at the damage that’s done to premiums – heck! Just look at the state of Colorado. The western slope of Colorado has some of the highest insurance rate increases in the nation.”

But under the U.S. Senate’s proposed Obamacare replacement, which Gardner helped draft, insurance rates are projected to go up more than they would if Obamacare remained in place, according to figures released by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation

Gardner must not be reading The Denver Post, because Kaiser’s Colorado-specific facts were presented there, in an article by John Ingold:

[Under the Senate bill,] for a 40-year-old making $50,000 a year, a mid-level “silver” plan on the state’s insurance exchange would cost: $1,930 more per year in Mesa County. $0 more per year in Denver. $910 more per year in Yuma County.
For a 60-year-old making $30,000 a year, the same level plan would cost: $3,230 more per year in Mesa County. $2,710 more per year in Denver. $2,820 more per year in Yuma County.
For a 27-year-old making $20,000 a year, the same level plan would cost: $700 more per year in Mesa County $550 more per year in Denver. $580 more per year in Yuma County.
Kaiser Family Foundation: “Overall, marketplace enrollees would pay on average 74 percent more towards the premium for a benchmark silver plan in 2020 under the BCRA [Senate bill] than under current law (Table 1). Younger enrollees would see modest increases on average (10 percent for those under age 18; 17 percent for those ages 18 to 34), while average premiums would more than double for enrollees ages 55 to 64.

On the radio, Gardner said insurance “executives” told him that the Senate bill will “bend the cost curve down,” and they will be able to “reduce rates.”

“Over the weekend I had conversations with CEOs (including at least one official at) Blue Cross Blue Shield, who said their support for the bill is robust,” Gardner said of the health insurance giant. “They believe that it would markedly help stabilize the market, so I’ve got to go through each and every one of those arguments and see whether or not this achieves that.”

Gardner’s D.C. office did not return my call seeking the names of the insurance executives he spoke with and an explanation of why he would believe them more than the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

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