Obamacare Architect Ezekiel Emanuel: We Will See "Severe Or Uncomfortable" Cost Increases For One Million People


In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the designers of the Affordable Care Act explains that up to one million Americans should expect "severe" and "uncomfortable" increases in their health insurance costs over the next year.

EZEKIEL EMANUEL: If you're a 27-year-old making $25,000 per year, your premium is staying exactly the same. You're getting insurance for $1700 a year, which is not a bad deal at all. But there are some relatively simple fixes. One is better social marketing to get young people in. Another is these risk corridors for the insurance companies to keep premiums lower. Another is to change how much you ban -- that is, how much older people pay versus younger people to decrease the cost for younger people overall.

The real ultimate test is: Can we keep health care costs low so premiums don't have to go up?

So far the ACA has been doing a pretty good job keeping insurance premiums low, and we have to redouble the efforts of that. I think those three or four fixes will be enough to stabilize the exchanges and to keep costs low for all Americans, not just the ten million in the exchanges.

JAKE TAPPER: First of all, when you say there are going to be subsidies and tax credits that help 80%, 85% of the people whose premiums are going to be going up... I don't know that that fully covers all of the increase. Even if it does, that's still more than a million Americans who are going to not have help and who are going to see increases of, on average, 25%. That's a lot of money for the average American.

EMANUEL: Totally agree with you. There's a million people for whom this is going to be severe or uncomfortable. We should be clear, though. There are lots of places where the increases are nowhere near what you are stating. For example, 12 states have increases of 10% or less, including big states like California, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey. Places like New Hampshire, where you ran an ad just a second ago, in fact, the increase is 2% across the state on average. So there is a lot of variability. Arizona is high, but big, big population states are actually much lower. Rates have increased because they have bigger pools and with bigger pools the change year to year is not so much. For the million people we need other solutions.

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