Vindication: Obamacare Average Family Premium at $95

Today, the HHS released data on health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act that shows premiums coming in well below previous estimates. 16% below estimates, on average. And that's before subsidies kick in for the vast majority of those who will use the marketplaces to buy insurance. The average cost of the mid-tier plans on which subsidies are based will be $328 before the subsidies, and it drops to $249 before the subsidies for the cheapest "Bronze" plans.

Today's release also included pricing in large metropolitan markets as well as pricing after the subsidies, and the lowered rates are almost shocking: In the 36 states where the federal government is either setting up the exchanges or helping them being set up, the average after-subsidy price for a bronze plan for a family of 4 making $50,000 a year is $95. That's a family plan for under $100 for quality coverage. All of these plans provide quality coverage including no-copay preventive care and annual checkups. In some cities families in the same situation may pay nothing after their subsidies are factored in. Another set of data released by the HHS just months ago found that the premiums are a fifth lower than what comparable small group plans would cost absent the ACA.

This analysis only takes into account the private insurance plans offered in the exchanges, and as would be expected, finds that exchanges with higher number of plans and insurance carriers - i.e. greater competition - have lower rates.

This isn't an accident. The data is a vindication for President Obama and pragmatists who fought to get the ACA in place, and damning for ideologues on the Left and the Right. This shatters ideological talking points about health care reform on both sides: the Right's critic that much needed regulation in the insurance market would drive up rates and leave you hanging if you can't pay for it is pretty well decimated. But so is the Left's critic that a regulated marketplace with private insurance plans cannot possibly make health insurance affordable, and that the only way to make health care affordable is to make the government compete in, and not just regulate, the insurance market.

And this is what the American people are about to find out. They are about to find out that for all the misinformation and hair-on-fire campaigns from ideological hotheads from both sides of the political spectrum, this is a program that does what it is meant to do: make health care affordable. That's the reason the Tea Party saw Ted Cruz's song and dance last night as their last chance to stop it. Because they can't afford to have the American people find out what Obamacare is really about. Once the American people see what Obamacare is really about rather than its caricatures, the wingbats are toast.

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