Lt. Governor Mary Taylor also holds the Cabinet-level position in Kasich Administration as the head of the Ohio Department of Insurance in addition to being over Kasich’s “CSI” (Claiming Strickland’s Ideas) regulatory reform program, which is a remarkable plate of responsibilities given just how invisible and little we hear about Mary Taylor since taking office.
As far as anyone can tell, the main focus of Taylor’s tenure as Insurance Commissioner is concern trolling ObamaCare.
In 2011, Taylor’s office released a report from Milliman Inc. which said all sorts of horrible things about what ObamaCare would do to premiums in Ohio. The Milliman 2011 study claimed that Ohio’s premiums would go up 55% to 85%. It, of course, was also a heavily flawed and biased study that cherry picked those aspects of the bill which drives premiums up, but ignores the provisions that drive costs down. The 55% to 85% figure, the study noted is the figure reached “prior to the application of the premium tax credit subsidy”. In other words, you get to that figure before factoring in where the federal government will subsidize premiums, lower the costs to consumers.
The 2011 also failed to account that a comparison to existing plans to what will be available on the exchange under ObamaCare because a) there are incentives for insurers to compete by lowering premium costs and b) by prohibiting bans on dropping insurers because they got sick or denying coverage for pre-existing coverage, the policies under ObamaCare are more comprehensive than existing plans, thus, will have higher costs.
Yesterday, Taylor’s office claimed that “[h]ealth-insurance companies would incur an average 88 percent increase in costs next year to pay for the health care of Ohioans who buy individual policies,” according to the Columbus Dispatch. Of course, as the Dispatch itself, pointed out, Taylor’s report contained many of the same errors that were pointed out in the Milliman study. But in addition to those omissions (all of which would lower the amount premiums will go up), the Dispatch pointed out that the Milliman study showed for some Ohioans the health exchange will save some Ohioans money:
Currently, premium rates for those on the cusp of Medicare eligibility are about six times what they are for young adults, according to a report done by Milliman Inc. for the state.Under the Affordable Care Act, those rates cannot be more than three times as high. That’s likely to lower premiums for older workers who are ill…
And Taylor’s report was based on nothing more than the initial proposed rates the 14 different health insurance companies have proposed for the 214 different plans to make available on the exchange. Which it is remarkable that Taylor could comment on the proposals at all since just five days ago, Mary Taylor was publicly quoted as saying that no insurance plans had officially filed with the department. Taylor says that the number of companies that have submitted proposals for the exchange shows a lack of competition. However, that number constitutes the major of approved health insurers in Ohio that don’t just provide dental or vision plans, and other companies still have time to submit proposals to participate in the exchange. So it’s pretty clear that Taylor rushed to the media before all the facts were in, probably because when all the facts are in they will not actually still support her ideological spin.
After all, the rates could be much lower as those rates are subject to… the Ohio Department of Insurance’s approval. Which is why Taylor’s press release had to note that “[t]he proposed rates are not effective and are currently undergoing the Department’s review process. During this process, rates may change before becoming effective.” Taylor’s entire report is based on the premise that the insurance industry’s opening bid will be the final premiums on the market before all the proposals could be in. That’s crazy.
And if Mary Taylor thinks she could have designed a better exchange for Ohioans, she had the opportunity under the Affordable Care Act. Instead, she used the 2011 Milliman study to justify refusing federal money to pay for the costs for Ohio to even study the opportunity for the Kasich Administration to set up the exchange. Now, she’s using the same flawed data and arguments to concern troll over the exchange she left to the federal government to create. The reality is that premium increases will not be as stark as Taylor says.
Mary Taylor has it in her power to prevent them from happening, so long as she doesn’t just serve as a rubber stamp for the insurance industry. Sorry, Mary, trolling time is over. Now you’ve got to do your job.