Premiums for a crucial category of Obamacare plans on HealthCare.gov will rise by 25 percent on average next year,
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Obama Is Watching Death Of Obamacare

The Obama administration admitted today that premiums for a crucial category of health care plans on HealthCare.gov will rise by 25 percent on average next year. That’s three times larger than this year’s price increases. Yet another serious blow to Obamacare.

For Barack Obama, the future of the Affordable Care Act, the hallmark legislative achievement of his presidency, will be a problem he leaves for his successor. If it’s Hillary Clinton, her challenge will be to find fixes to the law with a hostile Congress.

The Department of Health and Human Services report, released just two weeks before Election Day, shows on average exchange customers will have 30 plan options to choose from for 2017, down from 47 this year. The reality remains that insurers are raising prices and downsizing their presence on the exchanges as they try to stem losses from sicker-than-anticipated customers.

Former President Bill Clinton spoke about the problem with Obamacare last month.

“The people who are getting killed in this deal are small business people and individuals who make just a little bit too much to get any of these subsidies,” said Clinton while campaigning for his wife in Michigan. “Why? Because they’re not organized. They don’t have any bargaining power with insurance companies. And they’re getting whacked.”

Whacked is a good word for it. While Obamacare has expanded insurance coverage among the poor, it is a disaster for healthy Americans with higher incomes who receive less subsidies to buy private coverage.

“So you’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care, and then the people out there bustin’ it sometimes 60 hours a week end up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half,” said Clinton. “It’s the craziest thing in the world.”

Higher costs and less coverage? Crazy indeed.

More worrisome is that major insurers, like Aetna, have backed out of state-based exchanges because of unsustainable financial losses. Obamacare had built in a three-year program to help cushion early insurance company losses. The thought was the risk pool, and the prices insurance companies charged, would stabilize.

But that hasn’t happened. The sickest continue to buy coverage while the healthiest, including many millennials, have not.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association reports that new enrollees under Obamacare had 22 percent higher medical costs than people who received coverage from employers.

McKinsey & Company also found that in the individual market, insurers lost money in 41 states in 2014, and were only profitable in 9 states.

As it stands right now, that statistic is likely to get even worse.

Next year, when a new president takes office, Obamacare will be in its fourth year, without subsidies, and almost certainly in a death spiral. A Congress that hates it is not going to rescue it. Bill Clinton knows it, and seemingly has begun to lay the groundwork for that reality.

About Jim Heath

Jim Heath is the author of the new best seller Front Row Seat at the Circus - One Journalist's Journey through Two Presidential Elections. The book is about Jim's experiences covering the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns - from South Carolina, the first southern primary state, to Ohio, the ultimate battleground state in presidential elections. A recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism, Jim is also a two-time Emmy award winner with more than 15 years experience as both a main evening anchor and political reporter. A longtime advocate of social media, GQ Magazine listed Jim on their Top 5 political "Power List" and the Washington Post named him to their "Best Super Tuesday Twitter List." Jim's news career has taken him from Arizona to South Carolina to Ohio.

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One comment

  1. Jim, I’ve had healthcare since 1986. I’ve not had it for the last year. If I want to insure myself and my kids, the bill is 2250/mo…with a 6k deductible. I CAN’T DO THAT! Can you? Soooooooo…….

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