U.S. Reps. Tom Cole (R-OK), Bill Flores (R-TX) and David Young (R-IA) called for new solutions after the Obama administration this week confirmed health insurance premiums will skyrocket in many states next year under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). That's bad news, and there's no way to sugarcoat it. HHS estimated 10 million people will be enrolled in coverage through marketplaces by the end of this year.
The premium hikes and withdrawals of big insurers such as UnitedHealth Group (UNH) have landed Obamacare back in the middle of the political debate, with Republican Donald Trump predicting the law "is just blowing up".
There is no such disaster.
Jonathan Gruber, the mastermind behind the law, also failed to acknowledge the law's problems Wednesday, saying during an interview on CNN that the law is working for most Americans. The loud opposition to it has been politically driven.
"If you had told me three or four years ago that I approved a 43 percent rate increase, I would have said, 'There is no way, ' and we did", Gerhart said.In Iowa, rates will climb anywhere from 19 to 43 percent for 2017.
"Tonya Allen is a health care navigator at the Center for Family Health" in Jackson. It's not like this election has afforded Americans the opportunity to consider the finer points of health care reform. She suspects it's not linked to the Affordable Care Act, but rather to subtle changes in employer benefits.
The fact is that even with next year's premium increases for the benchmark mid-level policy, Obamacare is still coming in at the costs projected by the Congressional Budget Office in 2009.
The price of benchmark plans, the second-lowest-cost silver plans in a given insurance market, are used to determine the value of subsidies granted to Obamacare customers whose incomes qualify for such aid.
However, the Obama administration has assured that enough state subsidies would be doled out in 2017 to keep the plans affordable.
In his home state of Oklahoma, Cole noted that premiums for enrollees will rise 76 percent in 2017. In Illinois, the cost will go up from $208 to $298. If that's unpalatable, the government could impose a stronger insurance mandate. But 12.5 percent of Virginians under age 65, or about 874,000 people, still lack medical insurance, according to a May report from the Virginia Healthcare Foundation. If the healthiest among them decide to forego insurance, premiums will rise further next year. This makes it hard for insurers to anticipate their costs and, in turn, set reasonable premiums that allow them to stay in business.
The three-month signup season is scheduled to begin Tuesday through HealthCare.gov and state-run markets, from November 1 through January 31.