Waxman: GOP proved wrong on O-Care premiums

Rep. Henry WaxmanHenry Arnold WaxmanFDA lets vaping flourish as it eyes crackdown on cigarettes So-called ‘Dem’ ethanol bill has it all wrong Overnight Health Care: CEO of insurer lobby group stepping down | SEC charges Theranos founder with 'massive fraud' | Abortion fight holds up health deal MORE (D-Calif.) on Wednesday touted a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services, saying it proved that GOP fears of rising premiums under ObamaCare were wrong.

“The report proves conclusively that premiums in the new health insurance marketplaces are not only very affordable, but are often significantly less expensive than what was available in the individual market before reform, while offering superior coverage,” said Waxman, the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in a letter to Chairman Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonGOP split on immigration is a crisis for Ryan’s team GOP leaders huddle with discharge petition backers, opponents Leaders warn Republicans against forcing immigration vote MORE (R-Mich.).

Waxman called the HHS report “authoritative” proof that consumers are paying less under ObamaCare.

“This new report contradicts an analysis you released a year ago, which asserted that premiums under the Affordable Care Act would rise by as much as 400 percent,” he said.

The HHS report released Tuesday said that 3.2 million people are paying less than $100 a month for health insurance thanks to government subsidies.

It also credited new healthcare exchanges creating competition among insurers leading to a drop in premium prices, which it expects to continue during the next enrollment cycle.

The report found the average premium cost after tax credits was $82 a month down from $346.

“In several instances, your 2013 staff report cited premiums of between $158 and $179 per month as representative of premiums available on the private market before the ACA exchanges opened for business,” said Waxman.

“Even if we take your misleading data at face value, the HHS report makes clear that because of the ACA, consumers are now paying significantly less for significantly better coverage,” he added.

Critics, though, said the report was misleading and that the cost of ObamaCare’s subsidies will be too large to maintain.

The HHS report comes as both supporters and critics of ObamaCare look ahead to 2015 premium rates.

Premiums are expected to go up in many states, but the size of the increase could be crucial ahead of the midterm elections.