The downward spirals have begun. The combined Social Security trust funds—one for disability, one for retirement—as well as Medicare’s hospital-insurance trust fund, will begin eating into their reserves this year, according to reports released this week by the programs’ trustees. The trust funds for these safety-net programs are now projected to diminish until they are depleted. The Medicare hospital-insurance fund is projected to run dry in 2026. The bipartisan trustees have for several years been warning that Social Security and Medicare finances need fundamental repairs or people are going to get hurt.
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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number of its 5,000 ACA exchange members to drop their coverage when the individual mandate penalty is effectively repealed starting in 2019.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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The Obama administration sold the Affordable Care Act as a boon to small businesses and the 59 million Americans they employ. It hasn’t worked out that way.
The ACA outlawed basic insurance plans and required businesses with 50 or more full-time workers to provide gold-plated coverage most didn’t need. Almost immediately, companies began restructuring payrolls, converting full-time employees to part-time. Some took away insurance from workers who were previously covered. Walmart , for example, discontinued health care for 30,000 employees because of ObamaCare.
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The Trump administration is not sabotaging the nation’s insurance system — it’s trying to make health plans more affordable. That’s the intent behind the administration’s recent proposal to expand access to short-term plans.
“These plans aren’t subject to many of the regulations that have sent exchange premiums soaring. As a result, they’re significantly cheaper. The average premium for a short-term individual plan at the end of 2016 was only $124 per month. Obamacare-compliant plans, on the other hand, cost an average of $393 per month.”
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New numbers on healthcare costs highlight, yet again, how much of a dereliction of duty it will be if congressional Republicans don’t take another crack this year at replacing Obamacare.
The Congressional Budget Office reported on Wednesday that premiums for the basic Obamacare plan will rise 15 percent next year, despite overall price inflation in the rest of the economy remaining at or below 2 percent.
The huge price hikes will not be a one-time thing, either. “Going forward, the agency projects premiums will increase an average of 10% a year between 2019 and 2023 and then 5% annually between 2024 and 2028,” reported CNN.
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One of the laws creates a statewide individual mandate, which will require all New Jerseyans who don’t have health coverage through a government program like Medicare or their jobs to buy a policy, or pay a fee at tax time.
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