ObamaCare premium increases will be higher than last year, according to a new analysis of early data.

 The analysis from the consulting firm Avalere Health finds that proposed ObamaCare premiums for silver-level plans are increasing an average of 16 percent in nine states that so far have complete data.The proposed increases for silver plans, the most popular, vary widely, from a 44 percent average increase in Vermont to a 5 percent increase in Washington state.

The increases appear to be higher than last year on average. An Avalere analysis at a similar point in the process last year found an average increase of about 6 percent.

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The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) has proposed a plan to “rebalance” Medicaid eligibility in the Sooner State. Although OHCA’s “plan” so far consists of only a single page of bullet points, what little that is already known makes clear that the plan would gut the existing Insure Oklahoma program and replace it with Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion by another name. Oklahoma policymakers should quickly reject OHCA’s latest proposal to expand Obamacare and refocus their efforts on improving the program for the most vulnerable.

Thousands of kids and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Oklahoma are already sitting on Medicaid waiting lists to get the home and community-based services that they desperately need.

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Two studies released Tuesday show wide geographic variation in Obamacare price increases seen this year, and in those proposed for next year. Although there are plenty of double-digit prices being proposed, that isn’t the case everywhere. The studies underscore that the amount people pay for their Obamacare plans is often strongly related to where they live. They also show how much lower the price increases can be for a customer who switches plans within the same Obamacare “tier.” And one of the studies, by the Avalere Health consultancy, also backs the widespread belief that prices for 2017 likely will rise faster than they did this year.

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As candidates in both parties focus on the general election campaign, some Republicans wonder if large premium increases related to the Affordable Care Act could be an “October surprise” that helps propel them to victory in November. The causes of the approaching premium increases vary, but some are rooted in a 2013 Obama administration proposal.

In reporting on premium increases by one Iowa insurer, the Des Moines Register noted that individuals who bought new plans that complied with Affordable Care Act regulations could face premium increases of 38% to 43% next year.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Political solutions from years past may materialize in the form of rate hikes this fall–and could generate a distinct reaction among voters on Election Day.

Although she promises to tinker with the Affordable Care Act (see below) Clinton is not proposing to fix any of its largest problems.

So what does Hillary Clinton propose to do about Obamacare? Spend more money. She proposes (1) to limit out of pocket costs to 5% of family income by offering a tax credit of up to $5,000 for spending above that amount, (2) to limit premium expenses to 8.5% of income, (3) to fix the family glitch, whereby dependents who are offered unaffordable coverage at work are barred from the exchange and (4) to spend more money to enroll people in Medicaid.

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Health insurers have not had much to cheer about lately, when it comes to Obamacare. They have been losing money on exchanges, and there is little hope that will change. So, a large health plan in Pittsburgh has asked judges to give it Obamacare money the Administration promised, but Congress declined to appropriate.

As reported by Wes Venteicher and Brian Bowling of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Highmark lost $260 million on Obamacare exchanges in 2014, and claims it is owed $223 million by taxpayers. Unfortunately, it received only about $27 million. And things are getting worse. To date, Highmark has lost $773 million on Obamacare exchanges.

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Hillary Clinton’s “Medicare for More” plan certainly would cover more people — but it could also raise health-care costs for some current Obamacare customers if they aren’t careful.

Nearly 13 million Americans age 50 to 64 who lack insurance or buy private health plans would be eligible to buy into an expanded Medicare program that the Democratic presidential contender has proposed, according to an analysis released Thursday.

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Most Americans enrolled in health plans through the Affordable Care Act are happy with their coverage. But consumers are increasingly concerned about their monthly premiums and deductibles, reflecting rising anxiety among all Americans about their medical and insurance bills, a new national survey found.

Nearly 6 in 10 working-age Americans who have a health plan through one of the marketplaces created by the law said they are satisfied with their monthly premiums, and just over half say they are satisfied with their deductibles.

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Let’s face it: When it comes to products most of us buy, health insurance is one of the least popular. And new survey results from the Kaiser Family Foundation out Friday morning find that sentiment reaching new lows.

Kaiser’s Larry Levitt said it makes perfect sense why consumers are feeling cranky about their coverage. “People are paying more, and in many cases getting less,” he said. The most obvious reason people aren’t psyched, Levitt said, is due to the explosion in health plans with high deductibles.

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A plan the Clinton campaign unveiled in September would create a refundable tax credit worth as much as $2,500 per individual and $5,000 per family to cover out-of-pocket health-care expenses. Knowing there is a federal credit might give employees incentive to incur additional expenses to exceed the subsidy threshold. That would mean a credit aimed at mitigating the effects of rising health costs for some families could end up exacerbating the problem on a broader scale.
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