The latest salvo in the growing debate over Obamacare’s impact on premiums has been launched — this time by no less an authority than one of the architects of both the president’s and Mitt Romney’s health care reform plans.
In a new brief published by The Commonwealth Fund, MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber took a closer look at premium increases before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was enacted. Crunching numbers from the National Opinion Research Center, Gruber shows years of double-digit premium increases before health care reform was even a bill, let alone the law of the land.
On average, premiums increased by 9.9 percent in 2008, 10.8 percent in 2009, and 11.7 percent in 2010, the study shows.
The study examined premiums for people buying coverage on their own, not as part of employer-sponsored coverage.
Gruber’s analysis also points to a pair of other key findings.
The first is the wide variation of premium price points between states.
“There is enormous variation in rate increases across states. In 2008, state average rate increases ranged from 2.8 percent in Iowa to 14.7 percent in Wisconsin; in 2009, from 4.1 percent in New Jersey to 20.1 percent in Connecticut; in 2010, from 3 percent in Idaho to 21.8 percent in Nebraska,” Gruber writes, adding that no clear pattern emerges to explain the disparities.