Obamacare will increase overall health spending, but that doesn't mean a typical family will pay more. PHOTO: Robert Lawton, CC License
Forbes published a scathing report on Obamacare, claiming that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare’s actual name) “will increase health spending by $7,450 for a typical family of four.”
Ouch! Obama has been selling Obamacare as a bill that saves money for the average American, but here, in plain English, Forbes contributor Chris Conover states that your smiling average American family will get hit with an extra $7,450 every year.
Where is Conover getting this number? It’s a little shocking actually. Shocking that anyone would have the temerity to put their own name on analysis this bad, and that Forbes would be willing to publish it. Here’s Conover on his method (emphasis mine):
“Unfortunately, the experts working for Medicare’s actuary have (yet again) reported that in its first 10 years, Obamacare will boost health spending by “roughly $621 billion” above the amounts Americans would have spent without this misguided law.
$621 billion is a pretty eye-glazing number. Most readers will find it easier to think about how this number translates to a typical American family—the very family candidate Obama promised would see $2,500 in annual savings as far as the eye could see. So I have taken the latest year-by-year projections, divided by the projected population and multiplied the result by 4.”
Got that? Conover took the estimated increased healthcare spending by all Americans, divided that by the expected population, and then multiplied by four to get the increase in health spending by a typical American family of four. It’s the sort of analysis a Statistics 101 teacher would present to see if her students can spot the gaping logical flaws.
Even without looking into where that increase is coming from (more on that in a moment), this methodology is clearly terrible. Conover is calculating the average health spending of all Americans, without paying any attention to whether everyone is paying the same amount, if rich people get more of the burden, if Obamacare provides new subsidies for typical families of four, etc. When we read “typical family of four,” we assume that Conover is looking at the specific costs for two adults who collectively bring in, say, $75,000 a year, and have two kids. That’s not what he’s doing. He is assuming that all Americans pay the exact same health bill, both right now and in the future. Never mind that this is objectively false.
And we haven’t even got to the worst part of this Obamacare examination:
Where is that $621 billion coming from?
Two main sources, according to the very same Obamacare study that Conover quotes in his piece: a rebounding economy and 30 million newly insured people.
Health spending will increase under Obamacare, because there will be more customers in the market, not because the people already in the market will be paying more.
Anyone can make mistakes, but this kind of worthless analysis that Conover is peddling is the stuff you only see when someone is sworn to argue a position no matter the facts. By publishing this junk, Forbes shows that it lacks any kind of editorial rigor, at least when it comes to justifying the statements their audience already wants to hear.