The White House is continuing its offensive against a report that casts doubt on the cost effectiveness of Democrats' healthcare reform proposals.
The study, released Monday morning by America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), predicts the healthcare bills pending congressional approval could cost the typical family up to $4,000 more in monthly premiums each year. But in a blog post published Monday afternoon, the administration fires back at that estimate, calling it in inaccurate.
"The analysis completely ignores critical policies will lower costs for those who have insurance, expand coverage and provide affordable health insurance options to millions of Americans who are priced out of today's health insurance market or are locked out by unfair insurance company practices," notes Linda Douglass of the White House's Health Reform Office, who first made the remark to TPM.
According to the White House, AHIP's conclusions conflict directly with those previously offered by the Congressional Budget Office. In the latter group's latest scoring of the Senate Finance Committee's healthcare proposal, the CBO anticipates Chairman Max Baucus' (D-Mont.) plan would lower monthly premiums -- not increase them as AHIP suggests, the White House blogged.
The administration also criticizes the AHIP report for overstating the possible effects of a proposed tax on high-cost insurance plans. AHIP argues the fee on so-called "Cadillac" insurance plans is the primary agent fueling their estimated premium hike, adding that employers will merely restructure their benefit plans to avoid the needless tax. But the White House contests the fee is one of many "key opportunities for slowing long-term spending growth in the Baucus proposal."
Nevertheless, the tax in particular remains a critical source of debate among House and Senate lawmakers, especially those within the Democratic party.
The White House, however, is hardly alone on its quest to downplay AHIP's study. Also on Monday, Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee fired back at the report, similarly charging it was misleading.
"This report is untrue, disingenuous and bought and paid for by the same health insurance companies that have been gouging too many consumers for too long as they stand in the way of reform yet again," said Scott Mulhauser, a spokesperson for the Senate Finance Committee. "It's a health insurance company hatchet job, plain and simple."