Adam Linker: Partisan doomsayer

July 12, 2014 

In his piece on the bleak future of Obamacare in North Carolina, Dr. Stephen Parente made some absurd claims. In his analysis, he predicted that health reform will start crashing in 2017. But he displayed a weak understanding of private insurance and Affordable Care Act regulation. He claims, for example, that the value of premium subsidies will dramatically erode over time. But the subsidy is not a voucher. Instead, it caps the amount a family must pay for insurance based on earnings.

Parente also says that the programs built to protect insurance companies against bad risk go away in 2017 and that this will cause a premium spike. But there is no evidence that insurance companies low-balled premiums in anticipation of a big payout from taxpayers.

With his piece Parente joins a long line of health reform doomsayers who have turned out to be wrong. But you don’t have to believe me. Just watch the market. United Healthcare recently announced that it will offer subsidized plans next year in North Carolina. The nation’s largest insurance company is betting a lot of money that Dr. Parente is another misguided, partisan prophet of disaster.

Adam Linker

Health policy analyst, N.C. Justice Center

Raleigh

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