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Canary in the Obamacare Coal Mine


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Despite What the White House Says, Obamacare Is Deeply Troubled

 

Open enrollment on Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges is in full swing. Consumers in most states, including the 33 that use the federally operated HealthCare.gov, have until Jan. 15 to sign up for coverage for 2022.

 

The Biden administration says things have never been better, and that premiums are declining, more insurers are participating in the markets, and enrollment is at an all-time high.

 

Dig a little deeper, and Obamacare’s troubles become evident. Premiums are ticking down only after rising for years. Much of the coverage on offer confines enrollees to narrow networks of covered doctors and hospitals. And enrollment is up largely because the government is picking up a major share of most beneficiaries’ premiums.

 

Rather than fix these problems, the Biden administration wants to obfuscate them—by lavishing even more taxpayer money on the exchanges.

 

Premiums have retreated slightly over the past three years. Yet the average monthly individual exchange premium nationwide doubled between 2013 and 2019—and tripled in five states.

 

Many enrollees haven’t noticed because taxpayers are covering a significant share of their premiums. Nearly 90% of the exchanges’ 10.7 million enrollees received federal subsidies in 2020.:snip:

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  • 3 months later...

Anybody watching what Obamacare's costs have been doing lately?

This wouldn't exactly be news to anyone who has to buy Obamacare health care insurance...

But for perspective, here's the latest on the 2010 government health care takeover that had been so vaunted in the press as Your-Government-Here-To-Help:

 

The average family health insurance premium in the US has more than tripled since the "affordable" care act was signed into law back in 2010.

 

The biggest beneficiaries: health insurers.

 

United Health Group (the largest US insurer) is up 1,750% vs. a 389% gain for the S&P 500.

 

Tripled? We've got 7.9% inflation at last count, so this 'tripling,' even over the course of 12 years, with compounding increments, tops that. 

So much for President Obama's claim that his signature health care bill would cut insurance costs and everyone would be so grateful and happy.:snip:

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Three million to lose Obamacare in 2023 if Democrats don't extend subsidies

Over 3 million people will lose health coverage if Congress allows enhanced subsidies for insurance on the Obamacare exchanges to expire later this year, a key item of unfinished business for Democrats at risk of losing their majorities in November.

Democrats have sought, but so far failed, to extend temporary tax credits that were implemented in President Joe Biden's pandemic relief plan for premiums on health plans purchased on the Obamacare exchanges. If the additional subsidies expire, 3.1 million Americans will no longer have insurance, according to a new report from the Urban Institute.:snip:

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Joe Biden, Who Dodged Obamacare Taxes, Now Proposes Expanding Obamacare

 

Joe Biden’s willingness to expend billions of dollars on unilateral changes to Obamacare contrasts with his personal behavior regarding the law.

 

For all his claims of fiscal responsibility, President Biden has a funny way of showing it. His administration just proposed legally questionable regulations that would increase deficit spending by tens of billions of dollars.

Why did he drive up the deficit, as well as inflation, on this particular occasion? To prop up a law, Obamacare, that Biden went out of his way to avoid funding out of his own pocket.:snip:

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Worries about coming ObamaCare premium spikes intensify

Democrats are growing increasingly concerned that a spike in ObamaCare premiums could hit this fall right before the midterm elections.  

The party is already facing major headwinds from inflation and President Biden’s lagging approval ratings, and a health care premium spike would add a major blow. 

The American Rescue Plan signed by President Biden last year temporarily increased financial assistance under ObamaCare, but that increase is set to expire at the end of this year, causing an increase in premiums for enrollees in the health law unless Congress acts.  

Notices about the premium increases would be sent out shortly before the midterm elections, adding political pain for Democrats in addition to the higher premiums for consumers.  

“Right before the election, people would get notices of big premium increases, and that will certainly not reflect well on Democrats,” said Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation. :snip:

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‘It’s Hurting People’: Sen. Mike Lee Calls for End of Obamacare

A leading conservative senator, blaming Obamacare for skyrocketing health care prices in his state, laid out policy solutions Tuesday to create a health care system that puts Americans and their doctors back in charge. 

“If you allow the worker to get pretax dollars, get non-tax dollars, and allow the worker to purchase his or her own health insurance on the open market rather than having the tax benefit following the employer, that’s a big step in that direction in and of itself,” Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said during a panel discussion at the America First Policy Institute summit in Washington. 

President [Donald] Trump started that and naturally, given that it is a really good idea, President [Joe] Biden discontinued it,” Lee added during the session on public policy focused on helping patients and their doctors regain control of health care choices.  

Lee argued for a free market system, saying the U.S. must “stop extending, stop expanding Obamacare,” officially known as the Affordable Care Act. 

 

“In order to do that, I think we’ve got to make the case to the American people that Obamacare is bad—not because we disagree with it ideologically, but because it’s hurting people,” the Utah Republican said. :snip:

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Small Businesses Might Drop Obamacare As Premiums Skyrocket

Health insurance premiums offered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), colloquially known as Obamacare, will rise next year, hitting small businesses particularly hard and potentially pressuring them to drop out of the program.

While recent provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act have provided additional subsidies for individual consumers that will likely offset the increased cost of premiums, no such support was granted to small business owners, according to the Wall Street Journal. Insurers are proposing median premium increases of 10%, but some are proposing increases as high as 20%.:snip:

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Obamacare Open Enrollment Brings Election Day "Gift" To Voters

We're about a week away from two notable dates on America's civic calendar. On November 1, open enrollment begins on Obamacare's health insurance exchanges. One week later, voters head to the polls for the midterm elections.

Democrats have been aware of this reality for months. It was one of the reasons they made a mad dash to pass the dubiously named Inflation Reduction Act, which President Biden signed into law back in August. That law provides generous subsidies to people shopping for health insurance on the exchanges. Without it, consumers would've seen big premium spikes days before casting their ballots—not something Democrats running for Congress wanted.

Those subsidies will end up costing taxpayers billions of dollars—and do nothing to make the underlying cost of health coverage more affordable.

 

In Obamacare's first six years, average individual premiums more than doubled. A Kaiser Family Foundation study forecasts a median increase of an additional 10% in 2023.:snip:

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