Kansas families buying health insurance would pay nearly twice as much under proposals offered by presidential candidate Mitt Romney than under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, according to a report released today.
Under Obama’s plan, it’s also estimated that 220,000 Kansans would gain insurance coverage by 2016, while under Romney’s plan 90,000 residents would lose coverage.
Families USA, a national nonprofit health consumer organization that claims to be nonpartisan, released a 48-page report that compared three health care plans:
• ObamaCare — The Affordable Care Act that passed in 2010.
• RomneyCare — The Massachusetts health care insurance reform law signed by then-Governor Mitt Romney in 2006.
• RomneyCandidateCare — Health care proposals of presidential candidate Romney, which include repealing the Affordable Care Act and converting the Medicaid program to a block grant while reducing federal funding provided to states.
The report was produced with the help of three health analysts who participated in the development of both RomneyCare and ObamaCare. It uses 2016 for the comparison because it’s the last year of the next president’ term of office and it is a year where there is full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Ron Pollack, Families USA executive director, said during a teleconference call that the Affordable Care Act and the Massachusetts health plan are similar, but there are stark differences between those and Romney’s health care proposals.
“They are as different as day and night,” Pollack said.
Among the key differences:
• 170,000 — middle-class Kansans would receive tax credit subsidies to help pay for insurance premiums under ObamaCare in 2016, while 90,000 would receive tax deduction subsidies to help pay for insurance premiums under Romney’s plans.
• $4,590 — the average size of those tax credit subsidies under ObamaCare in 2016, while the average size of the RomneyCandidateCare tax deductions subsidies would be $2,621.
• 281,600 — Kansas Medicare beneficiaries received free preventive services such as colonoscopies and mammograms in 2011 under ObamaCare. These would no longer be free under Romney’s plan.
• 40,900 — Medicare beneficiaries received help with prescription drug costs under ObamaCare, and the average amount was $610. Such help would be eliminated under RomneyCandidateCare.
Jonathan Gruber, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, helped compile the report. He said he helped with the Massachusetts health care plan and he described it as “an enormous success.” He said it provided a model for the Affordable Care Act and it works because it contains three key elements:
• It made reforms in the insurance markets so people could no longer be discriminated against because they had pre-existing conditions or became sick. According to the report, about 26 percent of nonelderly Kansans, or 627,000, have a pre-existing condition that frequently results in denial of insurance.
• It mandated that everyone buy insurance so health costs were spread among the healthy and sick.
• It included subsidies to help low-income people afford insurance.
“It has been a success by any objective measure,” he said, adding the cost of premiums have decreased. He said the uninsured rate in Massachusetts is 3 percent while the national rate is 18 percent.
For the full report, visit familiesusa.org.