Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s move to scrap most of the chamber’s August recess promises to rob politically imperiled Democratic incumbents of campaigning time, but Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is embracing the change with a pitch for how to spend it: health care.
Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to send McConnell (R-Ky.) a letter on Wednesday asking him to set aside August time for votes on five Democratic-backed proposals aimed at expanding and lowering the cost of health care, which he previewed Tuesday after the Kentucky Republican announced plans to ax three of the Senate’s four planned recess weeks during that month.
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Even health insurers that don’t expect many of their plan members to drop insurance coverage after the individual mandate penalty is zeroed out still may have to raise individual market premiums in 2019 as their payments from the ACA’s risk adjustment program change thanks to the mandate loss.
Buffalo, N.Y.-based insurer Independent Health doesn’t expect a large number of its 5,000 ACA exchange members to drop their coverage when the individual mandate penalty is effectively repealed starting in 2019. Its population skews older and sicker, and most members need their insurance coverage. Its average member is about 49 years old, and about half receive federal premium subsidies.
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Remember Obamacare? The fight is far from over on the future of the Obama-era health insurance overhaul. Republicans are making a list-ditch effort this year to turn the program and the money over to the state. This isn’t full Obamacare repeal, but would make a world of sense because states would be free to experiment and find ways to reduce costs and provide better services.
Democrats are adopting a new political spin, which is that everything is fine with Obamacare. They claim that the only reason premium and deductible costs keep exploding is because President Trump repealed the individual mandate tax — which was nothing more than an unfair penalty on low-income families that can’t afford the high cost of the health law’s mandates. But if Mr. Trump is to blame, why were the costs skyrocketing two years before Mr. Trump even entered the Oval Office?
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Health insurers are asking Washington state regulators to allow them to raise the price of Obamacare premiums in 2019 by an average of 19 percent.
Under the latest proposals made public Monday, no county in the state will be left without an Obamacare insurer, a type of medical coverage offered to customers who do not get health insurance through a job or government program. Still, 14 counties would have only one insurer to choose from, which will limit their options and the doctors and hospitals that will be in their network.
State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler blamed the Trump administration’s changes to Obamacare for the increases.
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