Residents who buy their health insurance themselves will pay 20 percent more on average next year, and, for the first time, residents in 14 counties will have the choice of only one carrier offering plans in their area via the state health insurance exchange.

The increases are the largest in Colorado since the 2014 launch of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. In some parts of rural Colorado, premium increases will top 40 percent, according to figures approved Tuesday by the Colorado Division of Insurance. However, tax credits for low-income residents will help blunt the impact of some of those increases, with consumers who currently receive the credits in line to see an average decrease of 11 percent in their premiums.

. . .

The Affordable Care Act has expanded Medicaid and has added to its unsustainable spending trajectory, according to a report from the Mercatus Center.

“Before the Affordable Care Act, the federal government provided states with an open-ended reimbursement of at least half of each state’s Medicaid expenditures,” the report states. “Because of the federal reimbursement, both state Medicaid spending and federal spending (through the reimbursement) have increased significantly since the program’s inception.”

According to the report, experts did not account for how states would respond to the reimbursement rate and underestimated the number of enrollees and their related costs.

. . .

Yahoo Finance’s Ethan Wolff-Mann, who may have the best name in journalism, writes it’s not true that ObamaCare has caused employers to reduce workers’ hours because the new Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research Educational Trustsurvey found “a whopping 7% of employers with more than 50 employees actually gave part-timers full-time jobs since Obamacare was officially launched in 2013. Only 2% of employers cut full-timers to part-time.” Leaving aside the question of whether 7 percent is a whopping figure, the figures Wolff-Mann cites don’t necessarily support his claim.

. . .

A new Urban Institute report claims premiums for plans sold in ObamaCare’s health-insurance Exchanges are lower than comparable premiums for employer-sponsored health plans. Unfortunately, Urban scholars used sleight of hand to hide the full premiums for ACA plans. Incorporating the full premiums shows Exchange plans are more expensive.

The study’s authors used the premiums that HealthCare.gov and state-run Exchange web sites quote prospective enrollees. Yet those quotes do not reflect the full premium for Exchange plans.

. . .

As ObamaCare’s troubles mount, I’ve heard my patients and my peers in healthcare ask: How could the law’s authors not have seen this coming?

For my part, I think a different question needs to be asked: What if they did? What if ObamaCare was purposely designed to fail?

Every day, it seems like there are a dozen new headlines about the crisis facing ObamaCare. Premiums are rising faster than ever. Meanwhile, health insurance companies are abandoning the law’s exchanges left and right, unable to compete in the top-down, regulation-driven environment created by the law. Less than three years into its implementation, the law has never looked so precarious.

. . .

Roughly 8 million people faced ObamaCare individual mandate penalties this year totaling more than $3 billion, an analysis of the latest IRS data reveals.

Despite the controversy and high-stakes legal battle that has surrounded the individual mandate, the scope of the penalties paid this year has gone unreported by major news outlets as attention has focused on ObamaCare’s latest and most glaring problems: weak enrollment, surging premiums, and insurer losses that have provoked the exit of UnitedHealth, Aetna and Humana from most state exchanges.

. . .

Prices for medicine, doctor appointments and health insurance rose the most last month since 1984. The price increases come amid a broader debate about climbing health care costs and high premiums for Obamacare coverage.

A recent report by Kaiser/HRET Employer Health Benefits forecasts that the average family health care plan will cost $18,142, up 3.4% from 2015. That’s faster than wage growth in America.

Medical care costs altogether rose 1% just in August from July, according to the Consumer Price Index, a report on price inflation from the U.S. Labor Department.

Premiums on the Obamacare exchanges are expected to rise by double-digits this year.

. . .

New York has revolted against a critical component of the Affordable Care Act: RiskAdjustment.  If its revolt survives an almost certain legal challenge, a number of states are likely to double down on New York’s actions and remove one of the few remaining fingers holding Obamacare on to a cliff.

Acting under direction of its new Superintendant of Financial Services, Maria Vullo, New York has joined the chorus of those familiar with the program in contending that the federal Risk Adjustment program is backfiring. Critics say the program transfers too much money amongst insurers and is actually destabilizing the market.  New York is the first state, however, to put money behind the critique.

. . .

In new research published by the Mercatus Center, I analyze the causes and impact of the much higher-than-expected enrollment and spending associated with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion. Though unpredicted by Washington experts, the results were predictable. The federal government’s 100% financing of state spending on expansion enrollees has led states to boost enrollment and create high payment rates. (See this 2-minute Mercatus video for additional information on this significant development.)

In states that have expanded, enrollment and per enrollee spending are nearly 50% higher than predicted. While interest groups within the states—particularly hospitals and insurers—benefit from the higher spending being charged to federal taxpayers, substantial evidence suggests much of this new spending is wasted or provides little value for its intended recipients.

. . .

Deep into the final year of his presidency, Barack Obama is working behind the scenes to secure Obamacare’s legacy, struggling to bolster a program whose ultimate success or failure will likely be determined by his successor.

With no lifeline coming from the divided Congress, Obama and his administration are redoubling their pleas for insurers to shore up the federal health care law and pushing uninsured Americans — especially younger ones — to sign up for coverage. The administration is nervously preparing for its final Obamacare open-enrollment season just a week before Election Day, amid a cascade of headlines about rising premiums, fleeing insurers and narrowing insurance options.

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