HHS Dept. Confirms: GOP hoping to force $3,200 tax hike on 6.5 million working class Americans.

Y'know, there's all sorts of ways to spin formal press releases.

For instance: Moments ago, the HHS Dept. of the United States sent out this press release, touting the fact that about 6.5 million people who selected private policies via Healthcare.Gov for 2015 (about 87% of the 7.5 million total confirmed via the federal exchange) qualify to receive tax credits to help cover the cost of their health insurance premiums. The average tax credit for those 6.5 million people is $268/month, or $3,216 per year:


Monday, Feb. 09, 2015

Almost 6.5 million consumers qualify for an average tax credit of $268 per month through the Health Insurance Marketplaces

The Feb. 15 deadline is just six days away; 8 in 10 consumers can get coverage for $100 or less

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released today a report outlining the impact of advanced premium tax credits on premiums in the Health Insurance Marketplaces. Almost 6.5 million individuals in the 37 states using the HealthCare.gov platform are estimated to qualify for an average of $268 per person/month in advanced premium tax credits. Among consumers who are signed up for 2015 coverage to date in the 37 HealthCare.gov states, 8 in 10 could choose a plan with a premium of $100 or less after tax credits, based on available options.

These figures underscore the impact of the Affordable Care Act in delivering quality, affordable health care coverage to millions of Americans. With only six days left until the Feb. 15 deadline to sign up for coverage through the Marketplaces, HHS encourages consumers to check out their options for a quality, affordable health care plan. The vast majority – 87 percent – of individuals who are signed up through HealthCare.gov qualify for financial assistance.

The larger point of the press release, of course, is to stress the fact that there's only 6 days left for people to enroll in a private healthcare policy, so if you haven't done so yet, now's the time.

“With just six days left before the February 15 deadline and the end of this year’s Open Enrollment, millions of Americans already are counting on the financial assistance the Affordable Care Act provides to put quality, affordable health insurance coverage within reach,” HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said. “Consumers who sign up in states using HealthCare.gov are saving $268 a month on their premiums on average, and nearly 8 in 10 could select a plan with a premium of $100 or less with tax credits. This is further proof that the Affordable Care Act is working for the middle class."

Of course, that 6.5 million number will only continue to rise over the next week; assuming my projections prove to be correct, in the end there should be around 12.5 million total QHP selections nationally. Of those, about 11 million should actually pay their first premium and be effectuated. Of those, around 8.5 million will likely be on the federal exchange, and of those, around 7.3 million will likely qualify for tax credits...around 800,000 more people than noted in today's offiical announcement.

According to today’s report, on average, premium tax credits reduced consumers’ monthly premiums by 72 percent. The average monthly premium for 2015 coverage dropped from $374 before tax credits to $105 after tax credits, among 6.5 million consumers in the 37 state using the HealthCare.gov platform who selected a plan with tax credits. Today’s report also includes state-by-state figures. This analysis includes plan selections from Nov. 15 through Jan. 30: depending on the characteristics of people who sign up prior to Feb. 15, the statistics in this report could change.

Of course, assuming the held-together-with-chewing-gum-and-duct-tape King v. Burwell court case, which is rapidly falling apart just weeks before it's set to go before the Supreme Court, does somehow end up resulting in those tax credits being torn away, that means that between 6.5 million and 7.3 million people will instantly see their taxes go up by an average of $268 per month.

That's right, the Republican Party is gleefully rooting for a massive tax hike on up to 7 million middle class Americans. You know...the voting kind.

Of course, that $268/month is just an average, as is the 87% rate of credit recipients. When you break it out by state, it varies widely...from as low as 70% of enrollees in New Hampshire to as high as 94% of in Mississippi, and from as "little" as $158/month ($1,900/year) in Arizona to as much as a whopping $534/month in Alaska.

Now, I realize that Alaska is a red state, but I'm guessing those 15,400 people up North aren't going to take too kindly to being hit with a $6,400/year tax hike.

Anyway, I figured the headline of the press release needed a bit of tightening up. I suppose it's not as bad as Ronald Reagan calling women "America's Little Dumplins"...especially since my headline happens to have the benefit of being accurate.