Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Emptying the inbox

A couple of worthwhile gleanings from amongst the continual torrent of spam. . . .

The consulting firm Avalere Health, apparently in the now required hope that I'll give them some free  publicity, keeps sending me freebie information from their studies. Today they let us know that:

As plans begin to unveil their initial health plan rate filings [in accordance with the Affordable Care Act], a new Avalere Health analysis shows that in nine states the second-lowest cost “Silver” premiums appear to be lower than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate for 2016. Premiums for the second-lowest cost Silver plans for a 40-year-old nonsmoker will range from a low of $205 in one region in Oregon to a high of $413 in another region in Vermont. CBO previously projected nationwide the average monthly premium for the second-lowest cost Silver plan would be $433.
These second-lowest cost Silver premiums will be used to set federal premium subsidies. If premiums are lower than was projected by CBO, federal costs for per-person subsidies may be lower than expected, thus saving the federal government money.
“The initial data suggest that competition in exchanges is working to lower premiums, which will benefit nonsubsidized enrollees and the federal government,” says Caroline Pearson, vice president at Avalere Health.
On the whole, as implementation of the Kenyan Muslim Socialist Communist Atheistic Obamacare approaches, prospects for a reasonably smooth roll out seem to be looking better.

Yes, yes, young healthy people who are not eligible for subsidies will still pay more than they would if they were buying insurance in today's less regulated market, even given the above good news. But calm down. which most of them are not doing anyway. So their experience will not be, in most cases, a rate increase, but rather the requirement to buy insurance at all. (If you're a young person insured through employment, nothing will change.) But that's a feature, not a bug. Yes, the young and healthy will subsidize the older and sicker, which is what happens in a single payer system or really any reasonably equitable system of universal coverage. But that is precisely what creates justice and equity -- over the life course, rather than cross sectionally. Which is what you want, because, sorry to break it to you, you will get older.

On another front, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids is celebrating (if that's the word) the 100th birthday of Camel cigarettes. R.J. Reynolds has killed 1 million times as many people as John Marturano, the gangster who is currently testifying against Whitey Bulger. Yeah, it's appalling that Marturano only did 12 years for 20 murders, but Daan Delen, Chief Executive Officer of R.J. Reynolds, hasn't done a day.

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