The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare, or ACA) has been subject to nonstop political mud wrestling marathons since it was being debated in Congress four years ago. But now, it's a law that's being implemented. And in just six days, the ACA exchanges will be open for enrollment.
This is the centerpiece of the ACA. And this morning, the US Department of Health & Human Services released an eye-popping report on the ACA exchanges right before they become reality.
"We've done a pretty good job of getting affordable options on the shelves," Jeanne Lambrew, deputy assistant for health policy to Obama, told reporters Tuesday in advance of the report's public release. "That is success that we've gotten to the point where we can say that."
On average, people will have a choice of 56 different insurance plans -- depending on which state you live in, though, that figure could range from seven (in Alabama) to 106 (in Arizona). The average number of insurers in a state is eight, though that again ranges from one to 13 in different states.
As for premiums, before tax credits kick in, they will average 16 percent below the Congressional Budget Office's original estimates for a silver-level plan (which covers 70 percent of costs). The number of insurers in a state is directly tied to how low premiums will be, Lambrew noted. Arizona, with an average of 106 plans to choose from, had the lowest average premium for a 27-year-old adult: $166 a month. Wyoming, with an average of 16 plans, had the highest average premium at $342 a month.
But then the tax credits take effect. Those knock the premium for that 27-year-old, projected to earn $25,000, down to $145 in most states. For a family of four making $50,000, the credits take the premium price down from more than $1,000 in some states to $282.
As we've explained many times before, Obamacare is working. And it's working despite G-O-TEA obstruction.And it's working to lower health care costs while ensuring more and better coverage.
After all, the ACA provides the same health coverage that Members of Congress receive. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) explained this on the Senate floor.
So this is what some G-O-TEA crispy critters are going for (fili)bust over. And they're wondering why the cruel joke is now on them? Despite their nonsensical political games, Obamacare is becoming reality. And despite their misleading spin, more American families will soon discover how it helos them.
Congressional Republicans are still going for (fili)bust... And it won't be long before they just come out of this pointless melee looking awfully busted.