Yet the one family that she highlighted to demonstrate that "the Affordable Care Act is working" does more to cast doubt on her claims than to back them up.
And how badly does any family really need coverage that won't begin to pay for medical treatments until after their finances are blown up?
A million or more ObamaCare customers may find themselves in roughly the same straits this year. An individual earning a bit more than $20,000 a year will be able to buy a bronze plan for less than the minimum $325 individual mandate that the government will impose at tax time next year, the Kaiser Family Foundation health insurance marketplace calculator shows.
The same appears to apply for a family of four earning a bit more than $40,000.
Don't Get Sick
Of course, even though a family would have to throw away money if it doesn't buy your product, that doesn't mean that the family isn't a happy customer.
A closer look at the family that Burwell touted as a success story shows why it may be pleased with its coverage — as long as the family members don't get sick.
Here is what Burwell says about the family: Laura Gonzalez is a 26-year-old mother of two who is studying to be an ultrasound technician. She and her husband, a truck driver who doesn't get coverage through his employer, live in Jacksonville, Fla. They were able to get a subsidized exchange plan for $41 a month.
The low cost implies that the family earns so little that the children are covered under CHIP. A check of Healthcare.gov reveals that the cheapest bronze coverage in Jacksonville is $41 a month for two adults in a family of four with earnings of $38,300.
That plan, from Aetna's (NYSE:AET) Coventry Health Care, carries a $12,600 family deductible, apparently offering only preventive care before the deductible is paid.
The Commonwealth Fund considers individuals and families earning up to 200% of the poverty level to be underinsured if they have to spend more than 5% of income on medical care, excluding premiums.
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