The question — are insurance premiums going to rise or fall when the exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act open for business — is the question of the hour, the question leading the debate that has surrounded Obamacare since the legislation’s earliest days.
The answer to that question is, of course, unknowable until after the exchanges begin operating, but the lack of any clear data on the subject has made it easier for the legislation’s opponents and supporters to answer the question as suits their respective stances best.
For example, President Barack Obama and White House officials have cited the figures recently released by New York State Department of Financial Services as evidence that the reform will decrease premiums. Speaking from the East Room of the White House, he said: “Just yesterday, state officials in New York announced that average premiums for consumers who buy insurance in their new marketplace will be at least 50 percent lower next year than they are today.” He added consumers are “getting a hint of how much money they’re potentially going to save because of this law. In states like California, Oregon, Washington, new competition, new choices, market forces are pushing costs down.”