Columnists on both the left and the right picked up the Ohio insurance department's misleading message. Jonathan Cohn, writing in The New Republic reported the "Department of Insurance announced that Ohioans buying insurance on their own should brace for premium increases that will average 88 percent next year." But later in his piece, he said the "88 percent figure is so useless"--because insurance officials paid no attention to the number of people enrolling in plans and did not account for different benefit levels.
In a rebuttal to Cohn, Philip Klein, a columnist for The Washington Examiner began his piece this way:
Ohio Department of insurance officials announced last week that average premiums in the Buckeye state would soar 88 percent once President Obama's health care law kicks in. The news added fuel to an already raging debate over Obamacare's effect on insurance costs.
Indeed it did. The department's press outreach--muddling premiums and costs--may have given birth to a false meme that news reporters and columnists should be wary of passing along.
In the end, it's the price of the insurance policy to a consumer that matters (along with what is in that policy) and the insurance department was not ready to tell the press what those prices will be.
At least the Dispatch got the headline right: "Insurance prices still unclear."
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