What reform will do – now with data!

I love Nate Silver.  The main reason why that’s so is that he uses pretty scientific methods.  He not only will perform complex analyses – he will actually show you his methods so you could reproduce his work.

Incidentally, this is the hallmark of peer-reviewed literature and good science.  Clear methods allow you to judge the quality and soundness of the work as well as the results.  So if you disagree with his findings, you have to explain why his thought process and computations are wrong.  You can’t just have a different opinion.

Nate went and figured out how insurance will look to a family of four in 2016 under a number of plans:

What you’re looking at is the cost of insurance to a family of four making $54,000 in 2016.  The blue portion is the amount the family pays in premiums each year.  The red part is  co-pays, deductibles, etc. that a family might not pay every year; the amount shown is the maximum they would have to pay.  The diagonal portion is made up of subsidies from the government to cover the rest.

Under the Senate plan, premiums for this family would be $4000 a year.  In a bad year, they might have an additional $5000 in expenses.  That’s a maximum of $9000 a year.  I’m not saying that’s not a lot of money.

But it’s way less than without reform.  Assuming levels of inflation much less than normal, premiums for this family in 2016 would be over $13,000 a year.  In a bad year, add in about $6500 more in co-pays, deductibles, etc.  That’s now a maximum of $19,576 a year.  And – as Nate points out – the insurance they are getting is of lesse quality thanks to the fact that the regulations in the bill aren’t in effect.

Yes, some families in this situation qualify for SCHIP for their kids.  For those families, premiums would be over $8500 with another potential $5100 in cost-sharing for a potential maximum of $13,690.  And they’re getting the crappier less regulated insurance, too.

If you think he’s fudging it, go read his methods.  He’s pretty open about them.

Once again, I’m not telling you to support of oppose the bill.  But people on the right who reform would raise their costs need to look at this.  And people on the left who claim the Senate bill is now immoral and does more good than harm need to take a deep breath, too.

Think hard before you rant.

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