Obamacare would “bring down premiums by $2500 for the typical family,” President Obama boasted during the debate over his signature health legislation. While the veracity of that promise is up for debate, it’s also important to parse out that when President Obama said “typical family,” he also left out who he doesn’t mean by “typical family.” These are the stories of those left behind by Obamacare. They won’t see their premiums fall. Instead, their insurance will double in price.
Obamacare uses the trident of an individual mandate, community rating and guaranteed issue to push everyone, healthy and sick, into the health insurance system. The way that Americans get insurance if it’s not offered by their employer will be through state-based health insurance “exchanges.” In those exchanges, insurance companies aren’t allowed to price-discriminate between healthy and sick (community rating) and must offer insurance of a minimum benefit level to meet new federally-defined guidelines for insurance. People applying for insurance will also be offered subsidies from the federal government to buy insurance if their income falls below certain levels.