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2016 Election Government Healthcare

Obama Calls Skyrocketing Premiums Under Obamacare ‘Growing Pains’

Written by Philip Hodges

They should have called it the Unaffordable Care Act. But then, they would have had a harder time convincing legislators to vote for it. It was hard enough being called the Affordable Care Act. They still had to shove it down our throats as fast as they could like foul-tasting medicine. We had to pass the bill in order to find out what was in it.

A number of big insurers have jumped ship over the past couple years because of cost. There have been too many elderly, sick, and low-income people signing up. They’re not getting the youth to sign up as much as they needed in order to make the system worthwhile for them.

So, next year, not only are there going to be even fewer insurance options available, but costs are set to rise much more. And this is coming from the Obama Administration. In fact, President Obama explained that the law is still structurally sound, and any issues like rising costs and dwindling options are mere “growing pains.”

The Associated Press reported:

Premiums will go up sharply next year under President Barack Obama’s health care law, and many consumers will be down to just one insurer, the administration confirmed Monday. That’s sure to stoke another “Obamacare” controversy days before a presidential election.

Before taxpayer-provided subsidies, premiums for a midlevel benchmark plan will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally run online market, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services. Some states will see much bigger jumps, others less.

Moreover, about 1 in 5 consumers will have plans only from a single insurer to pick from, after major national carriers such as UnitedHealth Group, Humana and Aetna scaled back their roles.

According to Kaiser Family Foundation’s Larry Levitt, “Consumers will be faced this year with not only big premium increases but also with a declining number of insurers participating, and that will lead to a tumultuous open enrollment period.”

Nothing in politics is accidental. I wonder why this was announced so close to the election. This is something that could have waited until after the election, and preferably after a Hillary Clinton victory.

So, why did they announce it now? Republicans are predictably using the announcement as an opportunity to criticize Obamacare and the current administration in an effort to steer voters to the right.

At a campaign event Monday night, Trump said that it was “over for Obamacare.” Further, he added that Hillary “wants to double down and make it more expensive, and it’s not gonna work. … Our country can’t afford it, you can’t afford it.”

But Democrats can also use this to their advantage. They can use it to steer the country closer to a single-payer system. I know that Hillary hasn’t publicly advocated a single-payer system, but I think this is something that she holds in private. That’s why her campaign didn’t want to release her paid speech transcripts. In one speech, she seemed to hold single-payer systems in high regard. Here’s what she said in 2013 before the Economic Club of Grand Rapids (ECGR):

“If you look at countries that are comparable, like Switzerland or Germany, for example, they have mixed systems. They don’t have just a single-payer system, but they have very clear controls over budgeting and accountability. If you look at the single-payer systems, like Scandinavia, Canada, and elsewhere, they can get costs down because, you know, although their care, according to statistics, overall is as good or better on primary care, in particular, they do impose things like waiting times, you know. It takes longer to get like a hip replacement than it might take here.”

I think Obamacare was set up to fail to make it easier to sell the idea of a single-payer system.

We’ll see how Hillary and her campaign will use the rising Obamacare costs to their advantage. I don’t think that Obama would have announced the rising costs and dwindling options to benefit Trump. It seems more likely that he’d try to help out his preferred successor.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com


About the author

Philip Hodges

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