Well, the media released the latest information about the expected premium increases for 2018 by the only carrier (can you say monopoly?) remaining in the individual market for Nebraska. Medica has proposed rates that were touted as an average increase of 17% over last year but let me suggest that first and foremost, this is FAKE NEWS. Why is it fake? The reason I see it as fake news is that it doesn’t take into account the sheer number of people who will see upwards to 50% increases. You see, in Nebraska, the metropolitan areas will see the largest increases. Since these areas are the most populated, they will skew the percentages dramatically. To emphasize the effect, let’s put numbers into play. This is for illustration purposed only and actual increases are much higher. I will begin with basic assumptions. Rural areas have lower rates initially. For my demonstration, those rates are $200 per month and we are looking at 10% increase. Let’s also assume that we have 1,000 people who are covered. On the other end of the spectrum, the metro area begins with rates of $250 per month and so we get to the average of 17%, we will assume a 24% increase. 24 + 10 = 34/2 or 17%. The difference is that the metro area has 30,000 people covered. After doing the math, the rate for the rural people goes up to $220 per month and for the metro people the rate increases to $310 per month. So, in the rural area, the new monthly premium for the 1,000 members is $220,000 and for the metro people, the new monthly premium is $9,300,000. At the end of the day, the average increased premium is $307. If the average before was $248.39, the true average increase is 23.6%. Much different than the 17% that the media reported.

In addition, they state that “because of subsidies, most people will not pay more for their insurance than they did last year.” Again, this is FAKE NEWS! We all will pay for the higher rates. There is no free money. The taxes needed to pay these higher premiums come from us, the tax payers. To make a statement that most people will pay exactly the same as last year is the height of FAKE NEWS and in my opinion, downright dishonest. Let’s be truthful to the American people about what is happening. Rates are going up dramatically and we are all going to be affected. We as a country cannot continue down this path and we need strong leaders who are more concerned about the fate of our society than about their own re-election. The Affordable Care Act is not affordable and is doing tremendous damage. But my bigger concern is the damage being done by our media in its reporting that is slanted and in some cases, just FAKE NEWS.