Obama Promised Health Care Costs Would Drop, But They're Still Going Up
As a candidate, Barack Obama put a dollar figure on how much he and his ideas would reduce health care insurance costs.
During his first run for president, Barack Obama made one very specific promise to voters: He would cut health insurance premiums for families by $2,500, and do so in his first term.
But it turns out that family premiums have increased by more than $3,000 since Obama's vow, according to the latest annual Kaiser Family Foundation employee health benefits survey.
Premiums for employer-provided family coverage rose $3,065 — 24% — from 2008 to 2012, the Kaiser survey found. Even if you start counting in 2009, premiums have climbed $2,370.
What's more, premiums climbed faster in Obama's four years than they did in the previous four under President Bush, the survey data show.
That's a pretty glaring failure there, with simple enough numbers that the mainstream media could write sexy, simple stories about it. Cool graphs could show the promise -- column going down below zero -- to the reality -- column going up past zero.
The mainstream media could even explain some of the cost increases simply enough -- new mandates to cover things for "free" that weren't covered for "free" before have driven other costs up, plus the stubborn high unemployment rate keeps millions over in the expensive, emergency room model instead of moving them onto true insurance.
That in turn could be explained in part by the uncertainty that employers, particularly small business owners, face when deciding whether to take on new hires. That uncertainty regarding liabilities leaves many small businesses deciding not to hire at all. Mainstream reporters could get a nice pair of sidebars out of this, one from the point of view of a business owner who isn't hiring, and one from a displaced worker who can't find a job and has picked up an illness costing her a fortune.
The problem with all of that reporting is that it lays blame both for increasing insurance costs and the stagnant economy at the feet of one Barack Obama. So it's a story that the mainstream media will not tell. They have an election to win.