The impact of ObamaCare on doctors and patients, companies inside and outside the health sector, and American workers and taxpayers

The Trump campaign has doubled down on Health Savings Accounts, the health-insurance-as-401(k) product the Affordable Care Act was supposed to extinguish but which was specifically saved by President Obama in order to provide Americans with a health insurance option they could actually afford. The ACA specifically delegates the important job of defining what is and what isn’t health insurance to the Department of Health and Human Services. A President Trump could use that authority to greatly expand the role of HSAs in the exchanges and in entitlements, limited only by changes in budget such revision might entail.

. . .

Next year’s enormous premium increases are merely the latest expression of Obamacare’s underlying problems, and the dysfunction is undermining the health security of Americans who lack employer coverage. A wave of major insurers have quit the exchanges, and those that are left have raised deductibles and copays and restricted choices of doctors and hospitals. The only way to break the Obamacare status quo is if the public returns a Republican Congress to Washington. If Republicans can hold the Senate amid a Clinton victory, they’d be in a better position to negotiate solutions along the lines of the House GOP “Better Way” blueprint that would start to repair the individual market and create incentives for more choice and competition.

. . .

In 2008, the year that Barack Obama was elected as president, the combined annual profits of America’s ten largest health insurance companies were $8 billion. Under Obamacare, the ten largest health insurers’ annual profits have risen to $15 billion. This is another fine example of the natural alliance between Big Government and Big Business, which flourishes at the expense of Main Street Americans.

. . .

A top administration official said customers facing big Obamacare premium increases next year will need to shop around to find a cheaper plan, despite some states having only one insurer offering plans.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell told CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer Tuesday that the premium hikes, which will average 25 percent across all Obamacare plans, won’t be so bad for customers.

. . .

The Affordable Care Act is in the midst of the death spiral critics have long predicted. Before it enters the final death throes, Republicans must publicize viable market-based alternatives to replace it. That is the only way to avoid the potentially disastrous government-run, single-payer health-care system that would result from Hillary Clinton’s and President Obama’s policy proposals.

. . .

Some states with tight Senate races are seeing their Obamacare rates climbing next year even more than the average 22 percent increase announced by the Obama administration on Monday, as Republicans use the spikes to try to get the upper hand in a close battle for control of the chamber.

Two states with very tight Senate races are facing big increases: Pennsylvania with 53 percent and North Carolina with 40 percent. Incumbent Sens. Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Richard Burr in North Carolina are in close re-election battles.

. . .

House Republicans are questioning how much taxpayer money is going into federal subsidies meant to make insurance coverage more affordable for low-income Americans

Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.) and Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), all leaders of the Energy and Commerce Committee, sent a letter Monday to Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, requesting information about the amount of taxpayer money that will go toward Obamacare subsidies next year.

. . .

The Obama administration Monday confirmed a 25% average jump in premiums for the Affordable Care Act’s benchmark health plans and acknowledged later sign-up deadlines for hundreds of thousands of people whose insurers are dropping their plans because of rising costs.

Sharper increases had already been posted in states around the country. Market-leader insurers that are continuing to sell coverage through HealthCare.gov or a state equivalent have been granted average premium increases of 30% or more in Alabama, Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Mississippi and Texas. In states including Arizona, Illinois, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, the approved rate increases for the market leader top 50%.

. . .

The Obama administration is trying to calm the panic over soaring ObamaCare premiums by pointing to subsidies many will receive to offset the cost — but analysts and GOP lawmakers counter that those subsidies nevertheless will stick taxpayers with a rising bill.

With enrollment set to begin Nov. 1, the administration announced Monday that premiums are set rise an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally run online market. Some states, such as Arizona, will see premiums jump by as much as 116 percent.

. . .

Democrats are increasingly acknowledging that the Affordable Care Act has an affordability problem.

Former President Bill Clinton said recently that people who are ineligible to get subsidies to buy ObamaCare insurance are “getting killed.”

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said this month that “the reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable to increasing numbers of people.”

Even President Obama said in a speech last week that “there are going to be people who are hurt by premium increases.”