More than 50 fiscally conservative groups are asking Congress to prevent the Obama administration from giving insurers “bailouts” for their Obamacare losses.
Congress should take two steps toward that end, according to a letter sent Wednesday by Freedom Partners and dozens of other groups.
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Ever since the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces opened for business in 2014, the Obama administration has worked hard to get Americans to sign up. Yet officials now are telling some older people that they might have too much insurance and should cancel their marketplace policies.
Each month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is sending emails to about 15,000 people with subsidized marketplace coverage. The message arrives a few weeks before their 65th birthday, which is when most become eligible for Medicare.
When asked by a voter during Sunday night’s presidential debate what she would do about skyrocketing costs under Obamacare, Hillary Clinton praised the law’s expansion of coverage, and also vowed to “fix” the problems with the law to get costs under control. However, her plan for fixing Obamacare, far from solving its problems, would make many of them worse.
Broadly speaking, Clinton’s proposals boil down to increasing the amount that the federal government subsidizes and regulates healthcare. But Obamacare is rooted in the regulate and subsidize approach, and what has happened is that the regulations have driven up costs and even the hundreds of billions in subsidies aren’t enough to chase those higher costs.
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The problems emerging in the exchanges are a symptom of a larger disease, which is that the ACA moved far too much power and regulatory control over the health sector to the federal government. Building a broader consensus around reform of the individual insurance market will almost certainly require revisiting other fundamental aspects of the ACA that have sharply divided policymakers.
The ACA exchanges will not be able to continue indefinitely without substantial reform. But reform will only be possible if the American public believes that this will not merely be another intrusion into their personal health decisions and their wallets. It will be up to Congress and the next President to decide if America’s health care system is worth the political risk needed to enact responsible and necessary reforms.
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Hillary said on Tuesday: “We got to fix what’s broken and keep what works, . . . We’re going to tackle it and we’re going to fix it.” Secretary Clinton is exactly correct — if by “fix” she means enacting a proposal that could line the pockets of businesses to the tune of nearly a trillion dollars while simultaneously jacking up premiums and deductibles for millions of Americans. Hillary Clinton’s plan for a new federal tax credit to subsidize out-of-pocket costs for all Americans will encourage businesses to make their health benefits skimpier — raising premiums, co-payments, and deductibles — because they know that the new tax credit will pick up the difference for the hardest-hit families.
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A House Republican is circulating a letter among his colleagues urging Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to sue the Obama administration to prevent millions of dollars in legal settlements with ObamaCare insurers.
Mr. Trump might consider that his silence is doing damage to more than simply himself. Across the country, Republican candidates are facing voters angry about health care. It would help immensely if they could argue that repealing ObamaCare would be the pressing priority of a Trump administration. After years of having President Obama halt every GOP attempt to patch the law’s holes, this is an extraordinary moment in which the party can tantalize voters with the hope that the nightmare might end.
But to do that, Mr. Trump has to capitalize on one of the greatest political gifts any presidential candidate has ever been given.
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The federal government will choose health plans for hundreds of thousands of consumers whose insurers have left the Affordable Care Act marketplace unless those people opt out of the law’s exchanges or select plans on their own, under a new policy to make sure consumers maintain coverage in 2017.
“Urgent: Your health coverage is at risk,” declares a sample “discontinuation notice,” drafted by the government for use by insurers. It tells consumers that “if you don’t enroll in a plan on your own, you may be automatically enrolled in the plan picked for you.”
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It keeps getting harder to sell Affordable Care Act policies, says Steven Mendelsohn, a Montgomery County licensed insurance salesman.
It’s bad enough that United Healthcare pulled out of the Pennsylvania exchange that sells the subsidized health insurance parties last year, when rates went up 10%. Or that Aetna — which less than 10 years ago dominated the local market for individual policies — stopped writing the policies here earlier this year, when rates went up another 10%.
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President Obama admitted in a far-ranging interview about his presidency that his signature health law has “got real problems.” He said he encouraged Democrats to “walk the plank to get the Affordable Care Act done,” despite their (well-founded) fears they could lose their seats over their votes. “Now, part of my argument to them was, you’ve already paid the price politically, it’s not as if a failed health-care effort would be helpful in midterm elections, it’s better to go ahead and push through and then show that we had gotten something done that was really important to the American people.” (He admits that the party was absolutely ready to take massive casualties to get the last leg of its political agenda passed.)
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