The Washington Times - July 18, 2013, 11:56AM

The Obama administration on Thursday said insurance premiums on health exchanges tied to the new health care law in 10 states and the District of Columbia will be much lower, on average, than had been projected.The states are those that have made information available for the individual market in 2014, when online markets will help qualified Americans buy insurance with the help of government subsidies.

Additionally, six states will see an 18-percent drop in their small group market, according to the report by a policy development wing of the Department of Health and Human Services.

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The agency released the report in conjunction with a major speech by Mr. Obama, in which he argued that the rebates and reduced premiums are proof the Affordable Care Act is good for the country.

“Today’s report shows that the Affordable Care Act is working to increase transparency and competition among health insurance plans and drive premiums down,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “The reforms in the health care law ensure consumers will have access to better coverage at a lower cost in 2014.”

Republican critics counter that premiums are rising in select states, unions who once supported the law are now abandoning it, and that employers are dropping workers because of the mandate to provide insurance. They say they will fight to repeal the law and replace it with “patient-centered” reforms.