The GOP’s new tax bill, which passed Congress on Wednesday afternoon after one last vote in the House of Representatives and will be signed by President Donald Trump, is also a health care bill. The tax bill does at least as much (if not more) to upend Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, than even all of the Trump administration’s thousand cuts to the health law over the past year by repealing the individual mandate. Which raises the question: Just what is the Obamacare individual mandate? And what does its repeal mean for Americans?
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When the authors of the Affordable Care Act promised to “bend the cost curve” in health care, it was typical Washington doublespeak. Voters likely heard those words as a promise that costs would go down, but the intended meaning was merely that they would rise more slowly than before.
Yet even by that meager standard, ObamaCare is a failure. Costs are rising faster than before, and there’s no real prospect of a reversal. The key provisions of the law that were supposed to produce savings and efficiencies either haven’t worked or will never be implemented.
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This study analyzes the 2018 premium increases for health insurance plans offered on the Affordable Care Act’s individual marketplaces. Specifically, it compares the 2018 premiums to the 2017 premiums by analyzing the cost changes in three different plan types by rating area: benchmark Silver, lowest-cost Bronze, and lowest-cost Gold plans. It finds:
- Benchmark plans from 2017 that are still offered in 2018, even if not as the benchmark, rose by an average of 29 percent—the highest average increase since the ACA began;
- Only 17 percent of all rating areas have the same benchmark plan as 2017;
- The average 2018 benchmark plan premium is 36 percent higher than the average 2017 benchmark plan; and
- The lowest-cost Bronze premium and the lowest-cost Gold premium both increased on average by about by 20 percent.
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Senate Republicans are looking for ways to ensure that two ObamaCare funding bills they’re trying to pass don’t put money toward insurance plans that cover abortions.
“There were some questions that were raised in the pro-life community, and we want to make sure we get those addressed so that all conservatives feel comfortable voting for this transition out of ObamaCare, which is what this is all about,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD).
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