ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.

Oregon’s seven Obamacare insurers are asking for an average nearly 8 percent rate increase for 2019, with some plans calling for hikes of as much as 16 percent.

Of the seven insurers selling plans on the individual market and the law’s exchanges, six plan on raising rates next year between 5 percent and 16 percent. The other insurer aims to reduce rates by nearly 10 percent. Insurers that are proposing rate increases point to the repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty in 2019 as a reason.

The news comes as Democrats and Obamacare allies are attempting to tie the GOP to any rate increases because of changes the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress have made to the law.

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President Trump on Friday outlined his long-awaited plan to lower drug prices, stopping short of a full-scale assault on the pharmaceutical industry while floating several ideas that could give companies heartburn.

Trump stepped back from the some of the sweeping proposals he offered on the campaign trail, like having Medicare negotiate drug prices, but still leveled pointed criticism at the industry.

“The drug lobby is making an absolute fortune at the expense of American consumers,” Trump said in remarks from the White House Rose Garden. “We are putting American patients first.”

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Americans should be able to reap the rewards of living in the country that has brought the world more new drugs than any other. President Trump has made fixing high drug prices a top priority. He will give a speech on the topic today. HHS is taking on this challenge focused on 1) increasing competition in drug markets, 2) giving Medicare Part D plans better tools to negotiate prices, 3) creating new incentives for drug manufacturers to lower list prices, and 4) new options to lower patients’ out-of-pocket spending.

Insurers are proposing double-digit premium increases in Maryland’s individual-health-plan market, a consequence of what the state’s health insurance commissioner called a “death spiral.”

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield requested an 18.5 percent increase on the HMO plans used by the vast majority of its individual-plan members — and a whopping, 91.4 percent increase on its PPO plans. Kaiser Permanente requested a 37.4 percent increase on its HMO plans. The average rate increase requested, across insurers and plans, was 30 percent.

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The first glimpse of what health-insurance companies plan to charge for Obamacare plans next year suggests there’s no relief ahead for consumers saddled with high premiums.

Several insurers in Maryland and Virginia are seeking double-digit percentage increases in monthly costs for individual medical plans in 2019. The largest increases are being sought by CareFirst, which wants to nearly double the amount it charges on average for one coverage option in Maryland, and raise the cost of another in Virginia by 64 percent.

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Here’s a simple idea to help lower health-care costs: publish prices. A bipartisan group of state lawmakers in Colorado is pushing a bill to do precisely that. The Comprehensive Health Care Billing Transparency Act would allow Coloradans to see the true price of any health service they use—exams, procedures, prescriptions—before they undertake treatment.

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Two of Virginia’s ObamaCare insurers are requesting significant premium hikes for 2019, according to initial filings released Friday.

Both Cigna and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield cited policies advocated by the Trump administration, including the repeal of ObamaCare’s individual mandate, as part of its justifications for the increases.

Cigna is proposing an average premium increase of 15 percent for its 103,264 customers in Virginia, with a range of increases from 6.4 percent to 40 percent.

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A common argument from health care price control advocates is that there is a significant price differential for health care services between the U.S. and other developed countries, and that these differences drive higher per capita spending in the U.S. versus developed countries. While the simple answer may be “yes” to the question of whether health care services are higher in the U.S. than in other developed countries, there are other factors that need to be considered in order to fully understand why these differences exist.Several factors can influence how much a nation spends on health care, including overall utilization of services and technology, types of professionals used to deliver care, the use of biopharmaceuticals to offset more expensive health care services, and the underlying health status of the population. These and other influencers can have a direct impact on a country’s health care spending patterns.

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  • Consumers need relief from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA),
    which is not working as Congress intended. Allowing short-term plans to offer 12-month
    contract terms and renewal guarantees would provide protection and relief to millions of
    consumers struggling with the cost of coverage under the ACA.
  • Guaranteed-renewable individual-market plans provide coverage for patients with highcost
    medical conditions that is equally or more secure than employer-sponsored
    coverage.

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Finally, we have good news on health care reform coming out of the nation’s capital.

In October 2017, President Trump issued an executive order calling for more consumer choices in the health insurance market. The departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury responded by taking aim at an Obama administration policy that severely limits the flexibility of a coverage option called “short-term, limited-duration insurance plans.”

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