Reporting on this week’s Kaiser Family Foundation survey indicating premiums for employer-provided health insurance coverage rose by $1303 for the average family last year, ABC News spotlights the case of one flower shop to demonstrate that “many of the promises surrounding President Obama’s health care legislation remain unfulfilled.” Specifically, workers at the Flora Venture flower shop in Newmarket, NH – who remember candidate Obama’s repeated promises that his bill would lower premiums by $2,500 per family – faced a whopping 41 percent premium increase last year. One manager said “I basically work for the health care payments” – indicating how much Obamacare has fallen short of its promises to lower premium costs for struggling families.
Just as interesting was the spin the White House put on the Obama rhetoric then, versus the Obamacare reality now:
“So what about that $2,500 in savings the president pledged? White House deputy chief of staff Nancy-Ann DeParle insists families will see that savings — by 2019.
““Many of the changes in the Affordable Care Act are starting this year, and in succeeding years,” DeParle told ABC News, “and by 2019 we estimate that the average family will save around $2,000.””
This statement raises several obvious questions:
- During the 2008 campaign, Obama campaign adviser – and current White House adviser – Jason Furman told the New York Times in July 2008 that “We think we could get to $2,500 in [premium] savings [per family] by the end of the first term, or be very close to it.” That means the premium savings should be achieved in large part by 2012, not 2019. Why the sudden seven year delay in attaining this promise? If the President now believes Mr. Furman’s statements back in 2008 were inaccurate, and/or impossible to meet, then why is he still advising the President on economic policy at a time of record unemployment?
- How and why is the “most accountable” Administration promising savings – not now, not even three years from now, but eight years from now, well after President Obama has left office? If the Administration claims that the delay in achieving premium savings is because the provisions in Obamacare that will save money have yet to take effect, why didn’t the Administration press Congress to have these facets of the law take effect sooner?
- Ms. DeParle (conveniently) didn’t cite a source on her savings claim, but the Administration has previously invoked a report published by the Business Roundtable in November 2009 (i.e., before the health care law was even enacted) to make this assertion. However, the Roundtable’s study only presumes a reduction in the increase of premiums. Don’t take my word for it: Look at Exhibit 1 of the study (depicted below), which study illustrates that under the maximum achievable “savings,” large employer premiums in 2019 will be $23,151 per family – or $12,408 higher than they were in 2009. But remember, candidate Obama promised to CUT premiums, not just to slow their rate of growth. So how and why is the Administration attempting to pass off a $12,400 premium INCREASE as a SAVINGS to American families?
Any way you slice it, the workers at the Flora Venture flower shop aren’t being helped by the Administration’s rhetoric and spin – and are being hurt by the failures of the legislation the Administration signed into law.