Modern Esquire had a great catch on Mary Taylor’s strange presentation about her failure to keep Ohio’s insurance costs as low as California’s. Unfortunately, Taylor is following in the footsteps of Sarah Palin and Rand Paul: if you say something crazy enough, you’ll confuse the press and they’ll just reword your press release.

7 Facts Ohio Journalists Should Know Before They Write Their Next Exchange Story

1. California just released exchange prices that were much lower than their original estimates. Taylor’s report is based on figures that have proven meaningless in every exchange. The only way that Ohio’s prices will be on par with initial estimates is if Ohio’s insurance exchange is run incompetently.

2. Mary Taylor runs Ohio’s insurance exchange. She ran for Lt. Governor in order to become the Director of the Ohio Insurance Exchange. This wasn’t a surprise; Obamacare was the law of the land before she was even on the ticket.

The press wouldn’t let the Attorney General release a report about how the AG’s office can’t win any cases because Ohio’s laws are bad, when he wrote the laws in question. Yet that’s what Taylor has just done.

3. Republicans wrote Ohio’s exchange laws. While loudly and flailingly protesting the law, the Kasich administration is responsible for the plans that are offered on Ohio’s exchange. The federal government is in charge of customer service and subsidy delivery, but Mary Taylor is picking the plans.

3. The Society of Actuaries isn’t giving you the average insurance price, they’re giving you the average of insurance plans. SOA took every plan on the market, added them, and divided by the number of plans. Their “average” of plan costing $1 with zero enrollees and a plan costing $300 with a thousand enrollees is $150.

In the real world, you get estimated insurance costs by adding up all the medical costs and dividing by the number of people.

4. ODI includes scams in their report. Their average included plans with a $25,000 deductible. That’s not insurance. You give them money every month, and they give you… nothing. They’re never going to pay for your expenses.

The real story here, honestly, is that Taylor‘s ODI has been happily letting scammers sell fake insurance in Ohio.

5. 69% of Ohioans would qualify for subsidies. They aren’t for “low-income people”, they’re for the middle class.

If you’re earning over $95,000, there’s a 95% chance you’re doing that at a job that gives you insurance.

6. We already know the premium prices for the 87% of exchange customers. We’ve known them since 2010. They’re right here.

Here’s the income distribution for Ohio’s exchange:

income as % FPL individual market uninsured exchange population Market share
< 138% 8% 38% 795,800 47%
139% – 250% 7% 28% 424,600 25%
251% – 399% 5% 12% 251,100 15%
> 400% 4% 4% 219,700 13%

Ideally, half of those people will be enrolled in Medicaid. In that instance, 75% of exchange enrollees get subsidies.

7. Lower exchange prices will save money for the federal government, not for consumers. The whole point of Obamacare from a cost-control standpoint is to incentivize the federal government to keep insurance rates low. Consumers pay a fixed rate, and the government covers the rest.

If “the rest” is a lot of money, federal spending will be high. If “the rest” is less money than expected, then federal spending will be lower.

The future of “fiscal conservatism”, then, is to keep insurance costs low. That’s achieved through expanding Medicaid (which is de facto less expensive than subsidized private insurance), getting more employers on the exchange, and keeping rates down through active purchasing.