Republicans overreach on claims about increased insurance premiums

Republicans cite a new Morgan Stanley survey to claim health insurance premiums are up 90 percent in New Hampshire because of the Affordable Care Act. But that figure is based on just one insurance broker in the state.

Robert Santos, chief methodologist at the Urban Institute and president of the executive council at the American Association for Public Opinion Research, dismissed the Morgan Stanley survey as "typical financial marketing material where they pull together some data and create insights." But without any explanation of its methodology or margin of error, he said, it has no scientific validity. That's true of the aggregated nationwide results, he said, but especially the state results which are based on so few responses. Ms. Barrick, director of communications for the New Hampshire Department of Insurance: "An independent actuarial analysis modeling the Affordable Care Act impact on New Hampshire policyholders found that, on average, New Hampshire policyholders will realize an 8 percent rate decrease after subsidies.

Koch brothers strike again

David and Charles Koch are the billionaire owners of Koch Industries, the Wichita, Kan.-based parent company of several manufacturers and energy companies. Seventeen tax-exempt groups and limited liability companies tied to the Koch brothers raised at least $407 million during the 2012 campaign supporting conservative issues . Their financial backing helped found Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a group that has spent millions on ads this election cycle in battleground races including Colorado to help Republicans win the Senate.

AFP funded in part by the Koch brothers, recently bought ads of nearly $1 million in Denver and Colorado Springs. The women, an actor, in the Udall ad begins by saying, "People don't like political ads. I don't like them, either."

But she can't dislike them too much. Her comments have been made into at least four nearly identical "Obamacare just doesn't work" ads.

"The consequences of ObamaCare are clear: Coloradans and taxpayers across the country have had their policies cancelled, they are facing rising premiums, and losing access to their doctors despite promises to the contrary," and "330,000 Coloradans have had their policies canceled while only 85,000 have enrolled through the state's new health exchange", said Dustin Zvonek, Colorado state director of AFP.

Colorado exchange advocates noted that about 335,000 small-group and individual policies in Colorado were canceled because the plans failed to meet the ACA's coverage requirements. About 92 percent (~308,000) of those with canceled policies received early renewal offers. Ben Davis, a spokesman for Connect for Health Colorado, the state's health care exchange program, said some plans were canceled because they didn't meet the new floor for health plans in the United States.

"Additionally, health insurers cancel plans every year for a wide variety of reasons unrelated to the ACA. Many of those canceled plans were the lowest-coverage, lowest-cost plans for consumers that may qualify for expanded Medicaid under the new rules, leading those consumers to enroll in public health care," he said.

"The goal of Connect for Health Colorado is to insure consumers who were already insured and changing coverage as well as the uninsured, meaning that the state's marketplace needs both to accomplish their mission. Cut through all the political BS and you simply have a website offering consumers a place to comparison shop available health plans."

A Federal report issued last week shows Colorado's health insurance marketplace was fourth-highest among the 15 state-run exchanges in private-insurance enrollments. Connect for Health Colorado signed up 220,441 people through March 1 - with 135,560 enrolling in Medicaid and 84,881 purchasing private insurance.

Chip Tuthill lives in Mancos. Websites used: www.politifact.com and http://connectforhealthco.com.