Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Tuesday argued that spikes in health insurance premiums for Affordable Care Act plans provided an urgent rationale for his election on day that also brought fresh signs of a flagging campaign.
Trump’s finance chairman said that the GOP nominee has no further high-dollar fundraising events planned for the remainder of the campaign, dealing another serious blow to the GOP’s effort to finance its get-out-the-vote operation before Election Day.
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Donald J. Trump, desperate for a winning political issue in the final two weeks of the presidential race, fiercely attacked Hillary Clinton on Tuesday over sharp premium increases that will hit some Americans covered under the Affordable Care Act.
“The rates are going through the sky,” Mr. Trump said at a rally in Sanford, Fla., referring to double-digit increases in battleground states like North Carolina and Iowa.
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Obamacare enrollees will face varying rate hikes depending on which state they live in. Insurers in some states had underpriced their products in the first few years of the marketplaces set up under President Obama’s health care law and now are trying to make up for their losses with big cost increases. The highest AVERAGE premium increases are in Arizona, 116%; Oklahoma, 69%; Tennessee, 63%; and Minnesota, 59%. Millions of people in other states will find premiums for their current plans spiking at least as high.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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%.
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The Affordable Care Act is in serious trouble, and the next president and Congress may well have to gut or replace it.
While many Affordable Care Act supporters remain optimistic, concerns are bipartisan. An article by two conservative writers proclaims, “ObamaCare’s Meltdown Has Arrived … half of Tennesseans covered under the plan are losing their coverage.” Minnesota’s Democratic Governor Mark Dayton says the law has “some serious blemishes and serious deficiencies” and is “no longer affordable to increasing numbers of people.” Former President Bill Clinton said, “the people who are out there busting it … wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It’s the craziest thing in the world.”
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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.
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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.”