Needed: Someone to Slog Through Wisconsin's Obamacare Hokum

| Thu Sep. 5, 2013 12:17 PM EDT

Yet another Republican commissioner of insurance—this time in Wisconsin—has announced that Obamacare will bring eye-popping increases in insurance rates to the beleaguered residents of his state. Premiums will increase by 50 percent for most people and will double for the least lucky cheeseheads. It's gonna be a catastrophe.

I don't have the energy to figure out how the numbers are being cooked this time around, and the announcement rather carefully provides no detail about how the commissioner's office came up with its startling figures. But it's certainly remarkable that these skyrocketing rates only seem to affect states with Republican administrations, isn't it? Just remarkable.

In any case, while we wait for someone to figure out the precise nature of the gameplaying going on in Wisconsin, an actual report done by an organization that's actually trying to compile accurate information concludes that premiums under Obamacare "are generally lower than expected." That's from the Kaiser Family Foundation, which provides several handy charts with expected average rates. Here's a sample from a few of the states nearest to Wisconsin:

Those seem pretty reasonable. So how did Wisconsin supposedly end up with such high rates? My guess is that they lowballed the current rates; did their comparisons between different kinds of coverage; and cherry picked the buyers to get the worst possible results. But that's just a guess. I'm sure that eventually someone will dig into this and get us a real answer.

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